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Topics - RogerMartim

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1
Your Turn / The American Flag
« on: January 19, 2020, 10:51:23 AM »
I have long wondered about what I call our fetish with the American flag. I love my country and I probably would not live elsewhere, but I am of a firm belief that God is not the God of the good ol' USA, but that God is the God of the universe. Sometimes I feel that the flag adulation is way out of proportion—our Baal or Golden Calf. The article in the Fall 2019 Lutheran Forum, “It’s Time to Turn and Face the Flag” by Heather Choate Davis is timely and I was happy to see that I am not the only one with this concern.

I worked at a church in the East for many years. A new pastor had come in and he endeavored to remove the flag from its exalted place next to the altar. WWIII started, but after a long time he was able to win over with his gentle persuasion. Nowadays no one even gives it a second thought.

Not so with my mother’s church (LCMS) in the Midwest where the flag is stationed prominently at the altar with the state flag alongside. On July 4th and other patriotic holidays someone in the parish festoons an entire city-block length with the Stars and Stripes every couple of feet where the church is located. It is on a major street and so it isn’t missed by many. It is embarrassing as far as I am concerned. About 15 years ago the pastor, a retired navy chaplain, had the church spend over $6,000 for three flag poles at the narthex end of the church outside with the US flag in the center and the tallest with the state flag and the LCMS flag on either side. So much for good use of stewardship.

Again, I don’t think that the flag deserves such prominence in the churches that is almost in direct competition with the symbol of our faith, the Cross.

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Your Turn / "And lead us not into temptation..."
« on: October 04, 2019, 11:55:53 AM »
In the August 2019 issue of The Lutheran Witness there was an article by Gene Edward Veith, a retired professor. I am not sure if he was connected with Concordia Seminary but does direct the Cranach Institute there currently.
In his article he makes mention that the Pope recently made a change in the Italian Our Father to clarify “and lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation.” Professor Veith mentioned that the pontiff “still exemplifies what the Reformation found so problematic about the papacy.” He goes on to say that the pope is asserting his authority over Scripture.
I kind of got the impression that the Anti-Christ sentiment is alive and well in some LCMS circles when speaking of the Pope in 2019 following some 50 plus years of dialogues with the RC Church.
To be sure, “And lead us not into temptation” is troublesome for many to understand thinking that God could be the active agent in the leading. I understand that lead us not is in the original Greek. Curiously though that Professor Veith objects to the Pope changing the wording in Italian to “do not let us fall into temptation,” this phrase is exactly what it is in both Spanish and Portuguese in their Lutheran hymnals: y no nos dejes caer en la tentación (Spanish) and e não nos deixes cair em tentação (Portuguese).
I found the article very misleading.

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Your Turn / Religious Liberty?
« on: May 04, 2017, 12:05:23 PM »
It's a sad day in America when Trump blurred the line between church and state.

This would allow politics from the pulpit. Does this mean that a pastor can tell his/her congregation how they should vote?

Of course, this would apply only to Christians.

Would a radicalized imam be allowed to spew hate in the mosques?

This from a president who thought there were only two Corinthians hanging around.

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Your Turn / A National Prayer Breakfast Like No Other
« on: February 04, 2017, 10:52:20 AM »
This is who we voted for to lead our nation for the next four years.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/oped-moral-outrage-after-national-prayer-breakfast-n716261

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Your Turn / Let's have a pleasant interlude...
« on: December 04, 2016, 06:22:18 PM »
...instead of lobbying salvos at each other questioning orthodoxy or not.

I know we are only in the Advent season, but with being inundated all around us that Christmas is breathing down our necks, what is a Christmas favorite for you?

I have not seen it for a few seasons on television, but a favorite of mine had been "Amahl and the Night Visitors." Gian Carlo Menotti's composition captures much of the spirit that resonates this time of year. Such wonderful melodic and operatic lines in a make-believe story but still inspiring. I will have to carefully check the channel line-up to see if it will be on television this year.

My Mom went to the Augsburg Choir Advent Vespers Concert yesterday in Minneapolis. I could see the glow on her face as she told me about it this morning.

What's your cup of tea?

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Your Turn / July 4th—the New High Holy Day
« on: July 03, 2016, 09:22:51 PM »
When did it become such?

After Christmas and Easter, the Church seems to be putting out all the stops that July 4th be celebrated to the extreme.

All the hymns today at church were all about USA. The Prayer of the Church reflected the same. Flags were planted around the block. When did God become the God of the USA? I thought he was the God of the universe. Is not God a God of a Brazilian, a German, a Tanzanian?

In this election year we have come up with candidates who smirk, call names, and extol family values in which they practice none. And we certainly don't want anyone to be denied their right to have an assault gun.

The false patriotism and flag worshipping are the Golden Calves of the 20th and 21st century. Really folks, we need to look beyond our own noses.
 

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Your Turn / An Exception to the Rule
« on: July 03, 2016, 08:58:08 PM »
My aunt who is 88 is dying from lymphoma. She has been LCMS all her life and remains so. A good number of her family however are members of ELCA.

She called her LCMS pastor and requested that she wanted her family to be with her when it will probably be the last time she will ever be able to physically go to church. She asked him if it would be OK that the ELCA relatives receive communion with her. These ELCA folks are every bit of faithful Christians as she is and they take their faith seriously.

The pastor emphatically said MOST CERTAINLY that they would be welcome to commune. This pastor is by every stretch of the imagination a true LCMS pastor. He adheres to any of the strictures that St. Louis provides for him the right path. He also knows that there are just a few points of disagreements that stand between his church body and other Lutheran entities but we are grateful that he didn't deny the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the Sacrament to all those who believe.


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Your Turn / Muhammad Ali
« on: June 04, 2016, 09:55:06 PM »
How are we Lutherans supposed to respond to "The Greatest"?

Ali's death supplanted all other news today. You'd think that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn't even exist.

I've never liked boxing. I think that Ali punched himself into oblivion leading to the brain damage of the last 32 years. He never left the ring without his face all bloodied and swollen. What's so great about that?

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Your Turn / AIDS Revisited
« on: March 15, 2016, 12:45:23 PM »
I see that Pastor Speckhard locked the thread in regards to Nancy Reagan.

We go all over the board in our observations and they become confusing and so I do understand why Pastor Speckhard decided to close it.

I am interested however in continuing the conversation. I was criticized twice over, but not one person on this board has commented or lamented that AIDS was an issue over and above. For goodness sake, thousands of people died over the implications of the wish that it didn't exist.

Nowadays AIDS is a disease that is treatable like diabetes but the illness remains a threat and we must not treat it as a "homo" disease which is so obvious world-wide.

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Your Turn / Martin Lutero Square in Rome
« on: August 27, 2015, 11:09:56 AM »
The Vatican has approved naming a square after Martin Luther in Rome. This was at the request of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Seems strange with the SDA and the Lutheran churches so at variance with each other in many areas.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/vatican-supports-naming-square-after-excommunicated-church-reformer-martin-luther_55de1970e4b04ae497058b69

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Your Turn / How about something a little different for a change...
« on: February 25, 2015, 09:18:51 PM »
...from all the heavy-handed subjects.

What is your favorite musical mass or any other music which employs a religious text?

Mine is Mozart's C-minor Mass, K. 427, but in particular the soprano solo of Christe eleison. It's hard to beat Verdi's Requiem too.

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Your Turn / Just How Many Sacraments Are There?
« on: January 18, 2015, 03:48:24 PM »
I am reading Arthur Carl Piepkorn's magnificent tome "Profiles in Belief" and am only in the chapter of the Church of the Augsburg Confession which he seems to prefer to the termoniology of Lutheranism.

Ask any Lutheran and they would probably say there are two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

ACP adds that there is a third great sacrament, Confession and Absolution. Enumeration of sins is not important since it is impossible. Yet it is not stressed at all. Why is that? I worked in a church office for 19 years and the pastor there kept open his office for anyone who would avail themself of this means of grace but none ever showed up.

I haven't gotten as far where ACP considers Holy Orders as a sacrament.

Are there 2, 3, 4, or 7? It seems that ACP treats matrimony, last anointing, and confirmation as secondary sacraments.

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Your Turn / Jesus as Personal Lord and Savior
« on: January 08, 2015, 01:20:57 PM »
I know this isn't Lutheranspeak but I have heard a few Lutherans express their faith that they have "accepted" Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Just the other day in the newspaper there was an obituary that quoted this very same thing and that the woman was a life-long Lutheran. My mother's neighbors who have always been Mr. and Mrs. Lutheran left the Lutheran church because not enough of us are expressing that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior. (They left to join a megachurch.)

While I wouldn't say that it is exactly heretical language, there seems to me that there is a form of work-righteousness at play here that if you haven't "accepted" you aren't going anywhere.

As a pastor, would you counter this view or not?

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Your Turn / The Pulpit
« on: August 29, 2014, 09:03:06 PM »
Is the pulpit going the wayside?

I attended two funerals in the last month -- one at an ELCA church and another at an LCMS church.

Both churches are fairly new edifices with a stage-like chancel area. Think an auditorium with a stage the entire width of the building. Ugly, I might add.

Both pastors (one a woman and the other a man) during their homilies at the funerals walked back and forth the entire stage as they preached. The woman pastor had on quite high heels that went click, clack, click clack -- quite noisy and distracting.

For hearing challenged persons, it is dependent on us to use every resource there is to understand speech and this includes facial expressions, speech reading, etc. Half of that time while walking in an opposite direction, much is missed.

There is another type of preaching area in which a pastor will step down from the chancel to stand in front of the congregation. My mother is short and she too is hearing challenged at age 91. She can't see the pastor and so she misses everything. She sits as close as she can to the front but if there is someone who is taller in front of her, she still misses out. She can see the pulpit easily and she misses it when the pastor does not preach from it.

Isn't there a reason for a pulpit?


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Your Turn / The US Flag
« on: July 06, 2014, 10:24:12 PM »
Does it have an importance in a Lutheran's worship piety?

The church I attend (one that I was baptized, confirmed in, first commuion, etc.) planted 50 flags around its property in celebration of Independence Day which occurred two days before. I am sure that it is at the discretion of enthusiastic members of Men's Club. It's sort of like enthusiastic members of the Altar Guild who exert their influence on the chancel that often has an "overkill" flavor.

There was no other church in my city that made such an ostentatious display of patriotism. The service itself was OK with only mention of July 4 in the final hymn, Before You, Lord, We Bow, with lyrics by Francis Scott Key, which mentions the Crucified -- a Christological hymn. So that was OK with me.

Many, if not most, of our founding fathers of this country were Deists who paid homage to the god of the philosophers that St. Paul mentioned in his epistles.

My God is the God of the universe who sent his Son to save us. He is not the God of the good Ol' USA as so many think. God is the God of those who are in conflict in the midst of many trouble spots of the world: Nigeria, Honduras, the Middle East, and yes, even Tonga somewhere in the South Pacific.

To me, the US flag is the modern day golden calf.

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