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Messages - Padre Emeritus

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Your Turn / Re: Lessons Learned.
« on: March 31, 2021, 12:02:08 PM »
Brian:  and a wonderful meal and fellowship and conversation it was!  Should you be in the Mesa area, we should do it again at our home this time.

Your Turn / Re: Easter and the End of Mark's Gospel
« on: March 30, 2021, 06:09:36 PM »
Just a FYI, I have a NRSV in very large font that has Apocrypha interspersed amongst the OT books much like other Anglican preparations, rather than the Lutheran arrangement as a group between Testaments.

Your Turn / Re: Lessons Learned.
« on: March 30, 2021, 05:35:02 PM »

We haven’t met, and I enjoyed this post of yours as I often enjoy reading and trying to decipher exactly what you are trying to say and in this crazy Synod, what you are trying NOT to say.  We can be SO rude to each other… tact lacking in the LCMS theological mind?  Best construction on your fellow Christian’s words or actions?  Define “best construction” as we look for ways to undermine and discourage those we either disagree with or don’t understand.  This is the primary reason I no longer participate in anything much more than Circuit wide…..we have a wonderful Circuit of incredibly bright and sharp and KIND Pastors, every one of them…..rarely have I experienced this outside of Arizona where all of my ministry was served and where I continue to live, worship and preach and preside when anyone will have me. 

One of the things I love about the ALPB is the ideal of civility amongst all of the clergy and laity in this Confessional ecclesia called Lutheran.  I found the same and more in the Society of the Holy Trinity until I dared preach at the Closing Eucharist of our General Retreat with our Senior presiding in the Chapel of one of our seminaries.  I give thanks for my salt-water District and the successive line of great Bishops who made it possible for me to remain in good standing.

If only……. I have a very long list.

Your Turn / Re: Questions about Mary
« on: March 30, 2021, 05:16:35 PM »

Do you have any source for the explanations of the “closed womb” delivery of our Savior?  As a Roman Catholic, I was raised with the perpetual virginity of Mary (though it wasn’t until adolescence that I ever questioned it).  Since becoming a Lutheran and my pastoral formation those years later (and still continuing, until I die) I just took the texts that are referred to in the other thread on this topic that James was the biological brother of Jesus who became the Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem as he presided over the 1st Ecumenical Council in Acts 15.  I assumed that when it was told Jesus “your mother and brothers are outside” and they thought He was crazy too (or at least over-tired?), I never doubted the very Jewish life of “be fruitful and multiply” would be joyfully experienced by Joseph and Mary after the birth of Jesus.

Anyway, I wrote too much but am interested if a Church Father wrote in any more definitive way that the non-vaginal delivery took place.  I just thought of a funny….there was no such thing as a Cesarean section since he wasn’t around yet…..

Your Turn / Re: Quotes From Well-Known Theologians
« on: March 15, 2021, 12:29:54 AM »
In the Name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

OK let’s not make this about going to war. I was only expressing my long felt, and passionate belief that military service is too often the only kind of service to one’s country that gets any honor.

Charles: unlike the era many of the senior of us here faced (Vietnam Era) when all young men were subject to conscription through a variety of selection methods, today the military is a total volunteer force.  We can argue about whether this system is more fair, as it can be seen as the equivalent of a “job”, though we do honor and show respect for the service.

Even today those who are “anti-war” (who isn’t?) sometimes look down on those who choose to enlist after high school, though as a college counselor I found that the GI Bill provided the “scholarship” that enabled them to attend college.  I used my GI Bill benefits to get my BS and my Master’s (I ran out of months, but got an extension….cool).  My DMin was out of my pocket (though it resulted in a nice raise at the college for the final 10 years of my tenure there…..helpful.

While I am in favor of a form of mandatory service as a citizen (or potential future citizen), I realize that the military is not always the best way.  Would there have been a different way to get the medical training and experience I received in the Air Force on active duty, I would have enlisted there, as I do not have an athletic frame nor disposition to try to create same, I could have avoided many of the injuries that I sustained and are now the source of my chronic pain for life.

Just sayin’……

Your Turn / Re: One Man's Story - leaving his denomination.
« on: March 12, 2021, 05:02:26 PM »
Life is hard, ministry is harder…..

Alternately, the abundant life is destiny realized, and ministry is pilgrimage on the destiny trail.

Dave Benke

That’ll preach Bishop, probably better than mine, but likely take longer to explain……

No doubt, Padre - so my wife and I have been to Spring Training both in Grapefruit and Cactus versions.  The beauty of the Cactus League is you can just drive that outer belt around Phoenix and get to all the teams, whereas Florida has East and West Coast venues.  We may see you next year in AZ, fully vaccinated and ready to root.

Dave Benke

We get our #2 Pfizer on Wednesday, so we are good to go….we’d love to get together and cheer with ya!  One of our son’s father in law is a Scout for the Yankees and you and I have that Milwaukee connection, so Go Brewers……

Your Turn / Re: One Man's Story - leaving his denomination.
« on: March 11, 2021, 05:55:11 PM »
Life is hard, ministry is harder…..

Alternately, the abundant life is destiny realized, and ministry is pilgrimage on the destiny trail.

Dave Benke

That’ll preach Bishop, probably better than mine, but likely take longer to explain……

Your Turn / Re: Does this theology cause harm?
« on: March 07, 2021, 09:25:51 PM »
Early in my ministry I was a part of a group of pastors from our circuit who met weekly with a couple of counselors from the local Community Mental Health Agency. We would discuss counseling cases and counseling topics. The theory was that by helping us with our counseling, fewer of them would end up being treated by Community Mental Health.

In any case, one principle that they brought up that I find insightful and for more than just mental health was this: "The purpose of counseling is not to make people feel better but to help them get better." Just making people feel better about what is going on in their lives or more comfortable in their situation sometimes assists them from making the changes necessary to make real improvements in their mental health.

The preaching of the Law is not designed to help people feel better about their sin or more comfortable in being a sinner. But being comfortable with sin does not motivate people to seek solutions, including the solutions of the Gospel.

I was involved with a group of ELCA Pastors and myself.  We met with a psychologist employed by Lutheran Social Ministry at the time.  It was a wonderful time of growth for me.  As a cute aside, we were lamenting what every Lutheran Pastor laments: how can we get “inactive members” (an oxymoron) and we came up with the idea of each of us bringing Membership Transfer forms and we would then “trade them” as in pro sports.  Imagine the letter in the mail: Due to the fact that your church  could do nothing to bring you back to the congregation, your membership is hereby transferred to (fill in the blank).  I will send all of the records of our ministry together, which are meager at best, to your new Pastor who will contact you and welcome you to your new church…….  We had a good laugh for weeks!

Your Turn / Re: Does this theology cause harm?
« on: March 07, 2021, 09:13:19 PM »
Hold it! Pastor Poedel you’re a vet? A horse vet?

My master’s degree is in reproductive physiology,  My preferred species is the equid.  Before the demise of my lower back and first marriage I operated an artificial insemination business with a long time veterinarian friend.  My life has never been boring, my friend Charles.  There was a time when I would be a trivocational pastor, or even quad-vocational. I am easily bored and am now realizing that I have been ADD since childhood.  During my 30’s and 40’s all of my vocations came together.  I blew my back out working as a Paramedic, and being thrown from the neck of a horse while doing a removal of a tumor from her lower eyelid.  Without warning, she woke up and I went flying….adding insult to injury she kicked me with both feet right on my lumbar spine, propelling me about 15 feet from where I was snipping the tumor off.  I dusted myself off and realized I couldn’t stand without excruciate pain…..add that injury to my decision to retire from teaching, inseminating, rescue work, and whatnot and devoted the rest of my working years to pastoral ministry in amazingly dysfunctional family-systems of 2 congregations over the next 20 years.  I pray this helps!

Your Turn / Re: One Man's Story - leaving his denomination.
« on: February 24, 2021, 04:36:19 PM »
I am going to attempt a very difficult “dance step” here, and being the sinner I tend towards…OK, I am….I usually mess this stuff up big time (Maybe there is a thread in that too?)

When I get the most disquieted about the LCMS, I recognize that it is not about the Holy Spirit at all….

We don’t show much “enthusiasm” (see, overused Luther quote about  swallowing the bird) as we are a liturgical church.  Either you are blessed by the necessary formality of a liturgy, or you are not.  We too often criticize because we just don’t like the style.

Working with the down and out:  I have a different spin on this than most because I began my adult life dealing with drunk, high, or hungover or withdrawing from addicted substances as a Paramedic in a medium size city near the Mexican Border, Tucson, AZ.  I have heard every line, every con, every “conversion”….you name it.  SO, I get involved in this Lutheran church and start trying to figure out what it is all about, comparing it to the only other church I know, the Roman Catholic.  I learn about “Social Ministry” during the LCUSA era, and how we need to serve the poor and dispossessed and sick and addicted, etc.  I bought into it pretty well, as I grew up on a regular diet of the Maryknoll Medical Mission movies I saw every Friday in the mid to late 1950’s and early 60’s.  I credit those movies for my dual calling to the pastoral ministry and to medicine, but I digress……

Flash ahead a few years and I am serving on staff part-time at my LCMS congregation as a Deacon (read: cheap Associate Pastor, as I replaced the recently Called away Associate Pastor and did all of the work he did including preaching, presiding, weddings, funerals, etc) and I start getting people coming through the door “on their way to Texas when they need gas money” folks (we were too near Interstate 10).  I was never instructed in their ways, and the secretary pushed them all to me, sometimes literally, to get them out of her office, and I would talk to them.  I often fell for their stories of hard luck and gave them money.  We all know where this is going.

So, I have now been conned by the best of them, and combined with Paramedic days and parish days, and tell you nothing new when I say that most of the people who come to us are neither wanting to change nor willing to give anything up to repent, reform, or renew…..they operate from one con to the next.  So, I am more realistic about this.

Bottom line:  When people write letters like Mr Whomever (I am too lazy to navigate back to the original post to get his name) I say “See ya, bye”.  They are already decided that their church is spiritually dead or some such nonsense and they are going to try to put as much on that parish as they can to talk themselves out of coming back because the new place is just as bad.

Life is hard, ministry is harder…..

Your Turn / Re: Does this theology cause harm?
« on: February 24, 2021, 04:02:06 PM »

There are those who speak the bitter truth: "I'm sorry to tell you that the test for cancer came back positive." Such speaking the truth in love is painful for the truth-teller. If they had their druthers, it would be a truth they didn't have to share. We've been watching Heartland Docs about husband and wife veterinarians in Hartington, NE. When they've had to tell a pet owner that there's nothing more they can do and recommend euthanizing the pet, they have tears in their eyes. Their words cause harm; but they are necessary for that situation.

I watch that show too, and really love the couple’s humanity and apparent (though not discussed) Christian faith.  As I did equine veterinary medicine for 20 years, I relate to that and “The Amazing Dr Pol” and the one about the 3 vets school friends who set up a clinic in Atlanta (name is escaping me right now).

Blessings, Brian.  Always good to read you!

Your Turn / Re: Remote ashes???
« on: February 24, 2021, 03:39:35 PM »
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?

I think the short answer is Yes.  At the other end of the spectrum, the church through its pastor or spiritual leaders can take the ashes to homes for imposition, or to the subway stop/bus stop/7-11.  I can also say that no one I have ever met has told me that they applied ashes to themselves at home or anywhere else.

However, there is this:  I have always been drawn to the example of public penitence through sackcloth and ashes mandated by the ruling authority, as in Jonah, where upon hearing the one sentence message of the prophet, the king believes God and calls for a national day of penitence while sitting in ashes, including not only human beings but animals, all of which were decked out in the sackcloth and ashes befitting the rite.  Jonah didn't deck them out; it seems from the text that they took care of themselves.  And - God did not destroy the city, much to Jonah's dismay.  If that took place in Montana, I'm thinking the apparel cost for animals would far outstrip the cost for humans, no?  Who was the happiest man in Ninevah?  The Producer of Sackcloth.

Not insubstantially to the overall theme of Lent, the time-frame for destruction given to the Ninevites absent repentance is ------ 40 days. 

Out of curiosity, when during the service do you make the sign of the cross (at a service of Holy Communion), if you're in the pastoral role?

Dave Benke

I would make the sign of the cross over the elements when singing the words of institution, specifically, during the words "take eat" and "drink of it all of you."  I would make the sign of the cross over the communicants when dismissing them from the Communion rail.  And I would make the sign of the cross over the congregation when pronouncing the Benediction.  I don't cross myself.

Curious on 2 things:

1. Do you have an Ash Wednesday service in your parish?  If so, and you don’t use ashes, why?  If the sacramental of imposing ashes is not Lutheran, why is Ash Wednesday in the Lectionary?

2.  When you make the Sign of the Cross over your people either at Holy Communion dismissal or in the Benediction, do they “cross themselves”?

Your Turn / Re: The African Bonhoeffer
« on: February 24, 2021, 12:33:48 PM »
Thanks for the invite.  In my last parish assignment before retirement I served a community or Eritreans, who like the author here, were the victims of a Marxist takeover of their nation.  There are presently thousands of Eritreans living long term lives in Ethiopia.  Our community were Kunama, which have a language that has a western alphabet, were relocated to Phoenix by LIRS.  Their faith is more strict Protestant than Lutheran, though they claim to be Lutheran.  The faith is very pietistic, and to their credit they have preserved infant Baptism.

I tried to tutor their leader, whom I now consider a friend, in Lutheran theology and practice, but it became clear to me after a couple of years of this tutoring, is that they simply want to practice their faith as they did in Eritrea here in America.  Monthly Holy Communion with grape juice only, loud and without Western Liturgy.  Their faith is almost pentecostal in my view, though I have mediated discussion when a group of Eritrean Pentecostals tried to merge with the community worshipping at my church, but they wanted to take over and were rebuffed by our group over Infant Baptism.  I could write on, but will restrain myself.  I am now recalling their bright food, which is VERY spicy to the “Gringo Gut”, so they always directed me to the few blander items when we had joint congregational potlucks.

Your Turn / Re: R.I.P. Gerald Speckhard
« on: February 24, 2021, 12:14:35 PM »
Echoing the community here and the community of saints, we join with you in sorrow and hope.

May the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding, guard and keep you all as you mourn with hope that is sure.


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