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Topics - Donald_Kirchner

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Your Turn / "The only real truth comes from God"
« on: June 01, 2021, 08:01:12 AM »

"The only real truth comes from God"

By Nate Bjorge, Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Little Falls May 14, 2021

"Back when I was in high school, I was assigned to do book report on George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “1984.” Dystopian means an imagined or foreseen state or society where there is great suffering and injustice.

In his novel, the United States has become Oceania, a totalitarian regime founded as a result of an anti-capitalist revolution. Totalitarianism is defined as a form of government or political system that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual freedoms and suppresses any opposition to the state. The state exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life through massive censorship, surveillance, and religious persecution.

In Orwell’s novel, history is rewritten to fit the narrative of the state’s party platform and the family unit is dissolved so that the populous will be dependent on the state from cradle to grave.

While “1984” is a fictional novel, it is also prophetic in describing how a democratic republic can be progressively transformed into a totalitarian state. One of the great ironies in the novel is that it is the “Ministry of Truth” that is responsible for spreading propaganda to mislead the people and indoctrinate them so as to comply with the laws of the state.

According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, “Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.”

As Christians we believe that “God’s word is truth.” (John 17:17) And God’s word lines up with that which is factual and real. So we trust in God’s word that we were created in the image of God as male and female. (Genesis 1:27) We trust that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14) And there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)

God’s truth is absolute. We don’t get to say, “What is true for you may not be true for me.” Truth is not relative or subjective. Everything that is contrary to God’s word (which is truth) is a lie.

George Orwell stated, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” Jesus warned his disciples that they would be persecuted and hated for speaking truth. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) We are living in a time and culture that is trying to silence Christians who speak truth.

In the book of Acts, we read how the authorities were trying to silence the Apostles from speaking truth. And yet they would not be silenced. They prayed, “’Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” This needs to be our prayer!

It is time for the Church, the Body of Christ, to wake up and to stand up and speak God’s word – God’s truth with boldness.

“It is God’s desire for all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)

So let us not be silenced! Rather may we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak truth in love to all people."

Your Turn / The Lodge Question
« on: September 17, 2020, 09:14:43 AM »
Probably better here.

My father was a procurement analyst for the Weapons Command at the Rock Island
Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois.  It is a Federal Military Installation.  Early in his
career, he was approached by some Masonic Lodge members in his department to
join the Masons.  They liked his moral character and were willing to pay the fees
to make him a 33rd degree Mason.

What "fees" might these be, Dave?

BTW, if you are referencing the Scottish Rite as opposed to the York "Christian" Rite (the route I took to Knight Templar), I think you meant 32nd degree Mason. The 33rd degree is somewhat honorary.

"In the United States, members of the Scottish Rite can be elected to receive the 33° by the Supreme Council. It is conferred on members who have made major contributions to society or to Masonry in general...The 33rd Degree is conferred on the odd years at the Annual Meeting."

Finally, Masonry, especially at that time, was a secret society. I seriously doubt that the "approach" took place in the manner you depict.

Maybe stick with working on your comedy routine?   ::)

OK, so I will ask: knowing the LCMS position on lodges, am I correct in assuming that you had renounced your membership in the Masons before you joined an LCMS congregation?  Certainly the seminary would not have admitted you as an MDiv student unless you had already done so, right?

That is correct. I went through the York Rite and Knight Templar in my young adult years, beginning to practice law in a new, relatively small city of about 12,000. I got to know and respected some guys who were Masons and asked to join. No one ever approached me, and I never saw anyone being asked to join. That wasn't the way it worked. One of the district court judges was a Mason, but he never treated me differently from any other lawyers or showed me any favoritism in court or in his rulings. We were involved in community projects, I made some good friends, and I guess I enjoyed the dramatic aspects of meetings and degree work. But yes, there was a real focus on works righteousness. Looking back on it now, it is similar to and reminds me of teachings within the Methodist Church.

At the time, I was a member of a large ELCA church in town. At one point, the female associate pastor ran off to California with the female church secretary by taking a call there. Some members were quite shocked and asked about it. The senior pastor told the members it was none of their business. We left shortly thereafter.

I had begun to miss my LCMS upbringing and also the fact that, when visiting my parents at our "home" church where I was confirmed, I would not commune. Young and taken with myself, winning every jury trial I had, I went up to the rail and communed. How could they deny me?! Pastor communed me. It was my wife, raised ALC, who was incensed with me, lecturing me that I knew full well that the LCMS practiced closed communion. It was she who brought me to repentance. I went back to my parents' pastor and apologized. He of course forgave me, and we began to engage in some theological discussion. He gave me some materials to read, and that was the beginning of my journey.

Thereafter, I demitted from the Lodge. I discussed my decision with a couple of Lodge members whom I greatly respected. No one tried to dissuade me. They didn't quite understand my reasons for leaving, but no one pressured me to remain. It doesn't work that way.

We joined Zion Lutheran, an LCMS congregation. I loved their pastor, and between him and my parents' pastor, with whom I kept in communication, I continued down the road to entering the pastoral ministry, closing my law practice and entering Sem St Louis.

I remember reading Walther's letter on The Lodge question which, given my background, interested me. It is included in this article on the history of The Lodge in the LCMS.

I suspect that my parents' pastor had read Walther's letter as well, given his pastoral care to me.  ;)

Someone wrote to me privately, stating:

“I can’t think of a greater amount of bull crap and nonsense than anything having to do with the Masonic Lodge, in any of its various idiotic manifestations.”

I can, within the church at large and even at times on this forum. So, save the outrage when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Thank you for making that clear.

Your Turn / This is Minnesota, folks.
« on: December 07, 2018, 06:37:13 AM »
We gave you Jesse Ventura, Keith Ellison, and this guy.   :o

"The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays."

Your Turn / Agnus Day, the lectionary comic strip
« on: November 08, 2018, 10:14:35 AM »

I've been putting these in our Sunday bulletin since 2012. If you don't like that week's comic, he has extensive archives, giving you other choices for that particular pericope.


"Grace and peace are yours from the One who made all genders in Their image. Amen".
"Jesus, a sexual minority himself at the time by virtue of being unmarried and in many ways queer, is telling this story of equality to the religious aristocracy..."
"And in Mark today Jesus just refuses to fall into their trap and stay within their bounds.  This is a very queer thing to do as well, to blur lines, subvert hierarchies. Marcella Althaus-Reid says that – in addition to calling Jesus 'God in human drag' – Jesus is queer precisely BECAUSE of his transgressiveness. To be queer is to be transgressive. To break the rules and norms of society."
"When I read Jesus as a queer person of color who has been criminalized and punished by death by society, the church, and the state, I can’t help but think of my transgender sisters of color, many of whom take up sex work or other dangerous, criminalized professions.  I can’t help, in remembering our Brown Queer Criminal Jesus who was later executed, to think about Dejanay Stanton and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, two Black transgender women who were killed here in Chicago in the span of the last 5 weeks.

They held the image and imprint of God, too. And the church, with its queer-antagonistic, white supremacist, and misogynistic interpretations of scripture, has their blood on our hands."

LCMS Pastor Jonathan Lange has an October 9, 2018, article in The Federalist noting that a movie coming out this Friday has a fictional character, Mollie Mullaney, who is a composite of two real-life journalists, LCMS Lutheran Mollie Hemingway and J.D. Mullane. As Lange states, "In many ways she is the heroine of the story" in forcing the fifth-column leftist media to cover the trial of the nation's worst mass murderer.

Lange's article is "How America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer Almost Got Away With Murder."


"The name of America’s most prolific serial killer is Kermit Gosnell. He avoided the death penalty by waiving his right to appeal, and is serving life without parole. His story is told in the movie, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” It opens nationwide this Friday, October 12.

The most sensational trial of a serial killer in the history of America had virtually no reporters in the court room. The biggest crime since 1893 could not be covered because the reporters could not say why it was wrong.

One of those who noticed was Mollie Ziegler Hemingway. At the time she was a reporter for Nearly three weeks into Gosnell’s trial, there had yet to be any mainstream media coverage. So, on April 7, she published a story about the blackout. She followed up with six more, published between April 10 and April 16.

In the new Gosnell movie, Hemingway and [J.D.] Mullane’s roles are woven together into a fictional character named Mollie Mullaney (played by Cyrina Fiallo). In many ways she is the heroine of the story, and a reminder of the vital need for an unflinching press corps."

"The Vatican defended the policy, saying it wasn’t contradicting past teaching but evolving it."

Your Turn / Supremes rule in favor of baker
« on: June 04, 2018, 10:26:34 AM »

Your Turn / The Royal Wedding
« on: May 19, 2018, 02:20:48 PM »
I was traveling this morning, so I listened to the royal wedding broadcast on SiriusXM. Pleasantly surprised. A couple of good hymns: "Lord of All Hopefulness" (which I guess is a common Brit wedding hymn,) "God of Grace and God of Glory," and that beloved hymn "Stand By Me."   ;)

And it was so nice to hear lots of talk about Jesus, the Savior, in Bishop Curry's sermon. Example:

"There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

If you cannot preach like Peter, And you cannot pray like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus, How he died to save us all.

That’s the balm in Gilead.”

This way of love is the way of life.

They got it — he died to save us all.

He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it.

(I love this part  ;) ) Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate out of it.

He wasn’t getting anything out of it —

He did it for others, for the other, for the good and well being of others. That’s what love is"

Great that millions of people worldwide heard such words.

Your Turn / One good reason to give CFW Walther a break
« on: April 04, 2018, 10:21:36 AM »

"Under the heavy work load that he imposed on himself, Walther's health failed. He sailed back to Germany for a much-needed rest. He was at sea in Easter of 1860. On that voyage he wrote a hymn which was later translated into English by Anna M. Meyer. His own note says, "on the first Easter Day, April 8, 1860, on the Ocean."

He's risen, He's risen, Christ Jesus, the Lord..."

"The foe was triumphant when on Calvary
The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree...

But short was their triumph; the Savior arose,
And death, hell, and Satan He vanquished, His foes."

Your Turn / Finding faith in the new progressive movement
« on: December 18, 2017, 09:21:32 AM »

"I think the best way to rekindle faith is to be in places where faith can find us. I’m not simply writing to invite you to a mosque or synagogue or church. I’m inviting you to places where people of faith gather and participate in the movement of progression and inclusion we are working hard to achieve...

There is a great commitment among leaders of various communities of faith to engage progressive advances at the grassroots level...

We find our faith and inspiration through these initiatives and we welcome all to join us in this progression."

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