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Messages - Terry W Culler

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Your Turn / Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« on: October 25, 2021, 10:48:08 AM »
As someone from a church body that formed in a split 60 years ago I understand what Peter is talking about with respect to the future of a body like the NALC or the LCMC.  In late 2009 we began to see people coming to us from ELCA congregations and I told them that, if their sole goal was to avoid have homosexual pastors, then we were not the place for them.  The AFLC has an identity and a theological position which has endured and keeps us functioning and moving forward. Even though we are a small denomination we can answer the question, "why do you exist" rather straightforwardly and we continue to raise up young people who believe in free and living congregations.  Our problem now is indeed how to replace all the retired and ought to be retired pastors, especially in the rural upper Midwest.

Your Turn / Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« on: October 25, 2021, 07:47:28 AM »
Luther and the Reformed, represented by Bucer and Capito, came to agreement in 1536 in the Wittenberg Concord.  Luther communed with the other signatories.  There was no real problem until Calvin seems to have conceived the idea that he could, by reaching out to Zurich as well as Wittenberg, bring the Reformation together.  That is when the Lutherans rejected Calvin for having, in their view, broken the Concord.  At one point Luther, speaking of the young Calvin, said if he had been at Marburg they might have come to agreement. 

IMO, Calvin's agreement with Zurich is unfortunate because of the split it caused between our two communions.  We've now spent 400+ years defining our differences and forgetting our common positions, which are more than any of us want to admit.  I have worshipped in several PCA congregations and I heard the proclamation of the Gospel in each one of them.  I wish I could say the say for every Lutheran church I've worshipped in. 

Your Turn / Re: Halloween and All Hallows' Eve
« on: October 22, 2021, 07:22:01 AM »
I agree with Don about children going door to door.  That's what Halloween was when I was a child.  Now it seems to have much larger group of participants where even adults say it is their favorite "holiday".  I believe that has to do with the secularization of our culture.  People who don't believe in God are more likely to fear death, so they do things that seem to mock it--decorating their homes with burial markers, skeletons, ghouls, etc., going to horror movies, carving pumpkins to look demonic.  It's sad that a children's fun evening has turned into this mess.  But then, what do sinners do?  Sinners sin.

Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 14, 2021, 09:25:33 AM »
….or someone very committed perhaps over-committed. Passionate intentions, intemperate actions maybe.

somewhat like the people who stormed the Capitol building--passionate and intemperate.  Come on Charles, are really willing to defend anything anyone on the left does?  It reminds me of the common use of the word "activist" which generally means some left wingnut while someone on the right must be given some sort of lead in like "right wing activist."

Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 14, 2021, 06:32:53 AM »
No, the article that began this thread is about “partisan politics” and how they are expressed in our society. Dr. Carson is given high marks as a neurosurgeon and he deserves them.
His actions as a politician and cabinet member (look it up and read about his tenure as housing secretary) and his honesty when critiqued, not always so shining.
He says we need to be more “civil.” I agree. And he should talk to his political boss about that. I say that sometimes  “being civil and polite” isn’t the best way, even as I oppose armed violence. Yelling at someone while they are in the loo is hardly armed violence.

But it surely a sign that the yeller is a complete lout

Your Turn / Re: Columbus Day and evangelism
« on: October 11, 2021, 02:47:56 PM »
Except, of course, the Leif had been converted to Christianity and so was a potential torch-bearer for Christendom. Why anyone would think the Vikings retreat was a good thing rather than a bad thing is beyond me, again, unless we're race-obsessed or hate Western Civilization.
Not a good thing. Not a bad thing. Just a thing. In general the Vikings were not colonizers. ‘They pillaged. In Russia they traded goods and were merchants.

Indeed they were colonizers.  Viking footprints are all over Europe, not to mention Iceland and Greenland.  The Rus themselves were Vikings who first established their power base in Kiev.  Not only did the Norsemen take Normandy, but then they took England in 1066 and pushed aside the Saxons who had pushed aside the Celts who had pushed aside whoever was there before they arrived. 

Your Turn / Re: Reflections of a pro-life Democrat
« on: October 05, 2021, 09:20:21 AM »
Another reason is the inability of orthodox Christians to have any affect on the Democratic Party and its policies because almost everyone has moved to the GOP.  I've come to believe that was a great mistake because it left the wingnuts in charge with no internal balance.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 03, 2021, 01:46:03 PM »
After worship today I was speaking to a doctor in the congregation.  I asked her about the accuracy of the tests and she said they really aren't sure.  One of their vaccinated staff has continued to test positive for 3 months, yet has shown no symptoms during that time.  So for 3 months he/she has been off work and yet not ill.  Another has tested positive, 2 weeks later negative, 2 weeks after that positive again, each time no symptoms.

So here we are with ever changing advice based upon vaccines which have not had full FDA testing and tests which seem often to be ambiguous at best.  It's no wonder people don't know what to do or who to trust.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 02, 2021, 07:53:59 PM »
I read some frankly disturbing news from New York state...Apparently, New York's state health department has issued a deadline for medical personnel to get the COVID vaccine by September 27.  If they haven't gotten the vaccine, they have been suspended from work, and will not be eligible for unemployment insurance unless they are able to provide a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation.   Some hospitals have stopped elective surgeries and have stopped accepting intensive-care patients from other hospitals due to the shortage of personnel.  This apparently effects 16% of the state's 450,000 hospital staff....72,000 healthcare workers.

To overcome this issue, they are bringing in medical personnel from out-of-state and considering activation of the New York National Guard to fill these gaps.

A couple of things I don't quite understand about these decisions:

 1 ) The medical personnel being suspended have already worked through the worst of the COVID pandemic without the vaccine.

 2 ) The New York National Guard doctors and nurses are ALREADY working in the medical field in some capacity (either in their own practices or in hospitals).   It's not like they are doctors or nurses in the National Guard and plumbers in their real jobs.   There's simply no net gain in healthcare workers by activating the National Guard.

Bill Buckley once said that following Eleanor Roosevelt around looking for an example of illogic was like following a lighted fuse, you weren't quite sure when, but you knew something was going to blow up pretty quickly.  Evidently you can follow the new governor of NY with the same expectation.

Your Turn / Re: Lutherans and Socialism
« on: September 25, 2021, 07:28:12 PM »
Pastor Bohler:
Why do you think it is the responsibility of Americans to not only risk their lives but also money to defend others (from the Russians OMG!) just so those other nations can have more to spend on themselves? 

Because we support freedom. Because they are our friends. Because we have pledged to do so. You don’t like it? Lobby for new treaties. Or do you favor us walking away from our commitments?

We support freedom, but as John Quincy Adams noted, we are guarantors only of our own.  Germany doesn't bother to guarantee its freedom by keeping its promises of military spending.  It lies over and again and we buy it.  Our allies are not our friends, they are nations which have a national interest served by allying with the US.  If their national interest is not met by standing with us, they don't.  We often seem to be the only people who are expected to be johnny on the spot whenever they need something.  If Europe has no interest in effectively defending itself against Russia--a country which is weaker than those which make up the EU, then I'm not sure why we should be expected to take up their defense.  For all of Putin's obnoxious bluster, the likelihood of his actually doing anything is very low.  We pledged to assist a weak Europe from an aggressive potential enemy, neither situation continues.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 15, 2021, 11:31:41 AM »
We have been told so very many things, some of which contradicted other things we were told, that it's not hard to see why some people are skeptical of everything they tell us.  But my understanding was always that the vaccines were not 100% effective, nor could they ever be, so it's not surprising to read that some vaccinated people became infected.  It is sad, but there are no 100% guarantees in this life unless they were made by the Lord Himself

Your Turn / Re: Once again, in loco parentis
« on: September 08, 2021, 12:34:56 PM »
If you run into a jerk one morning, you just ran into a jerk.

When you run into jerks all day, you're the jerk.

A friend of mine had a similar saying--if there's something wrong with everyone you know, you are the only common denominator

Your Turn / Re: Shameless
« on: September 05, 2021, 08:27:18 PM »
Oh my goodness, let's not ever tell anyone about sin, it might hurt their feelings or make sex less enjoyable.  Of course there is the goat line on the last day ....

Your Turn / Re: Is Wealth actually Satanic?
« on: August 30, 2021, 12:41:24 PM »
What is wealthy? If we are going to talk about whether wealth is Satanic, it would be helpful to define just what wealth we are talking about. Compared to slum dwellers in Sao Paulo, Brazil or even inhabitants of homeless encampments in San Francisco, I am fantastically wealthy. Compared to many inhabitants of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, or millionaires row in Beverly Hills, I am quite poor.

Studies have been done to try to determine what level of income is needed for optimum happiness and life satisfaction. Turns out, that for the USA and Canada, greatest life satisfaction is achieved with an average income of $105,000. Hardly one of the 1%s, more like upper middle class. Is that wealthy?

Yes, that is wealthy.  Virtually everyone in this country is, by any sort of global perspective, wealthy.  A friend visited a congregation in Africa which was in an ongoing relationship with the one he served.  There he met an elder in the congregation who was a retired school teacher.  His income was about $100 a month, but he considered himself well off because he owned a small parcel of land where he could grow food for his family.  It was 10 miles away from his home and he rode a bicycle there to tend his garden.  Americans have an inflated idea about what constitutes "enough".  (And I include myself in this.  Until 9 months ago we owned a vacation home in SC.  We also own two cars and we each have enough retirement money saved to continue our relatively modest lifestyle.  Sure we give to the homeless whenever we see them, we help at the Rescue Mission, etc.  Still, we are by any reasonable definition "wealthy".

Christians celebrate those who give care to the needy, but we don't contribute enough to alter our lifestyles.
The press honors the wealthy (Bill Gates, etc.) who give millions to various charitable activities, but I doubt any of them had to give up something to do that.  I have always believed Christ has called His people to lives that reflect His, to truly live as if Jesus is Lord. 

Maybe I'm making too much of this, but, as I have aged, I've started trying to look with a clear eye at where I have failed my Lord. 

Your Turn / Re: Is Wealth actually Satanic?
« on: August 30, 2021, 09:36:26 AM »
Pondering today the difference between the state of the church in the US and western Europe and the growth of the church in Africa and Asia despite persecution.  My wife has said for years that all Americans will have to stand before God and answer for how we have prospered off the labor of exploited people.  I suspect that everyone who reads these words is probably wearing something or sitting with something around them that was made by people exploited and ill treated, some of whom are slaves.

Jesus spoke of how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom.  And the state of the Church in the West shows again our Lord's truth.

God provides for our sufficiency.  No argument about that.  However, we, as a people, do not seem to seek sufficiency but much more.  I'm not advocating for socialism or anything like that, it's been proven wrong far to often to be considered.  Rather I'm wondering if those of us who say we trust in and follow the Risen Lord, all the while trying to put as much wealth away as possible while taking expensive vacations and changing out the closets of our 3000 sq. ft. house every two years, aren't really denying the call to aid those in need, thereby bringing forth God's wrath upon us.  I once had a parishioner who asked when I was going to stop preaching about caring for the poor.  I said I'd stop when I couldn't find anyplace in the Bible where God told us to do so.

I guess my real question is not whether we have a flawed economic system but whether our choices within that system are not pleasing to God.

People have often said that the riches of the USA are a sign of God's blessings.  Maybe, wealth is a sign of God's wrath on those who love their stuff more than their God.
While the prosperity Gospel is indeed a curse in disguise, to view material wealth as a sign of God's wrath would turn the first article of the creed on its head. "All this He does only out of divine wrath and displeasure, of which we are worthy and surely have merited..."

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