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Messages - Pr. Luke Zimmerman

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Your Turn / Re: Israel and Hamas
« on: May 19, 2021, 02:22:12 PM »
Recently a house bill calling for sanctions on Hamas failed along party lines. In the past it had passed unanimously.

I get the impression a similar split in sentiments divides mainline Protestants from conservative Protestants, with the former tending to support the Palestinians and the latter tending to support Israel. Why would that be?


Your question deserves a much longer treatment than what I'll give. But I think there can be a summary statement that explains the divide within Protestantism along mainline and conservative lines.

Leaving out any secular political reasons, I would posit that the divide can be summarized in this way:

(1) Conservative Protestants Being Supporters of Israel
An understanding of the existence of the modern state of Israel as necessary to fulfill aspects of premillennial eschatology, including interpretations of prophetic statements from Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation leads many Conservative Protestants to take a pro-Israel stance. These interpretations vary, but may include anticipating a wholesale conversion of Jews to Christianity near the eschaton, a national Israel involved in armed conflict against other nations, and the physical return of Christ in Jerusalem.

(2) Mainline Protestants Being Supporters of Palestinians
An understanding that a chief aspect of Christ's Gospel is to proclaim liberation to oppressed groups and to work for the temporal improvement of oppressed group's standing in this age leads many Mainline Protestants to take a pro-Palestinian stance. This goal may not include an emphasis on converting Palestinians to Christianity, but it would include removing them from suffering acts of a more powerful group that brings physical harm to them.

This divide makes it a bit awkward for Protestants who may hold to an understanding that the Christian Gospel is to bring people into reconciliation to God through faith in the atoning and redeeming work of Christ and who hold an understanding that the eschaton will come but will not include a role for a national Israel. Such individuals don't fit into either camps. [I would suggest that this is where LCMS Lutherans–though not exclusively them–fit theologically.] Support for Israel or the Palestinians would not be driven by theology but by other motives, including secular politics.

The above summary also focuses more on majority of Palestinians who are holding to the Islamic faith and doesn't address the somewhat complicating factor of Palestinian Christians and how to support brothers and sisters within the household of God.

Your Turn / Re: Pure Flix: The Book of Daniel
« on: May 05, 2021, 09:11:19 PM »
From a perusal of their website, it doesn’t look like Pure Flix is anti-Catholic. There were some films with Catholic content: Fulton Sheen, Sunday Mass, Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.

That said, the statue in question looks very much like the statue of St. Nicholas that I have in my study or an ornament that goes on my Christmas tree every year: the book with the three baubles is common in images of that defender of orthodox teaching and proponent of charity. Perhaps it was a budgetary decision—find the cheapest statue around to insert into the film.

Depends up location, location, location, Peter.
In northern New Jersey, an experienced pastor of a moderate-size congregation will have a compensation package - salary, insurance, housing equity, pension payments - in the neighborhood of $85-$90,000. That is what the package was for the pastor called to one of my interims. Of course the pastor is not "paid" all of that, but that is what the pastor's employment costs the congregation. Some congregations also pay 1/2 the social security the pastor is required to pay.
The flat-out salary, not including insurance, housing, equity or pension, for a pastor with a couple-decades of experience would be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.

Pr. Austin:

That seems in line with some of the LCMS congregations in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania also. That's based on evaluating my own situation, my brother's situation (also a pastor), as well as some of the calls that have been issued during my tenure in this part of the country.

There may be some play in the salary numbers, bumping a little higher: $35,000–$45,000. Some congregations also pay a car allowance–not mileage reimbursement, but a bump in salary to purchase and maintain an auto. (That gets taxed as income.) But what you listed seems on target for a pastor who's logged in around 15 years or so of experience and is serving a congregation that has ~100–150 people in weekly attendance.

Your Turn / Re: Female Supreme Court Nominee
« on: September 26, 2020, 10:14:35 PM »
I don't think the diversity of law school should be a big deal except that it is a self-fulfilling cycle. The best students go to Harvard and Yale because the big names come from there, and the big names come from there because the best students went there. Great students go elsewhere, too, but so do mediocrities. So the Notre Dame element isn't so much necessary for the court as it is healthy for the American educational system. In the future, someone who gets in to Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame or somewhere else will at least be inclined to give that other school a chance.

This is only partly right.  Harvard and Yale indisputably boast two of the country's most prestigious law schools.  But Stanford, Chicago, and several other law schools are viewed within the profession as being very much at the same level.  And for what it's worth, Harvard and Yale also admit mediocrities.  I have encountered them in practice and during my time as one of the hiring partners for the NYC office of a national firm. 

I believe that the large number of Harvard and Yale grads reflects the impact of networks and connections.  The professors, judges, and leading government attorneys in the Acela corridor hire and promote from within their own networks.

I think that it’s interesting that President Trump’s “short list” of potential Supreme Court appointees includes numerous graduates from law schools other than Harvard or Yale. Some examples include the following Federal Appeals Court judges:
- Britt Grant (Stanford)
- James Ho (Chicago)
- Allison Jones Rushing (Duke)
- Amal Thapar (California-Berkeley)

Though basically a layman when it comes to legal matters, I do like seeing other law schools represented on that list. I would think/hope that a Democratic Party President could find potential appointees with a similar variety of law school training.

Your Turn / Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« on: May 16, 2020, 11:51:33 AM »
From the Concordia Saint Louis Facebook page:

Today is an historic day. Electors will vote to issue a call this afternoon for the next president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. As we await news of this decision, which will be shared here and on our website, we offer this prayer:

O God, from Whom comes all holy desires, all good counsel and all just works, we give You thanks that You have brought us to this day. We give You thanks for the leadership and service of Your servant Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, and pray You grant him refreshment and renewal in his retirement. Pour out also Your Spirit of wisdom and understanding upon the next president of Concordia Seminary, that he may equally lead and serve with joy and goodwill. Finally, give to us all, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, in the faith, hope and love that come through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The real question is, what color smoke is appropriate in this situation?

Mauve from the previous Synod logo.

Your Turn / Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
« on: March 22, 2020, 07:44:06 PM »
Moreover, this approach turns the words spoken by the pastor from a proclamation into an incantation of sorts. This, too, was addressed by the CTCR:  2.This practice lends itself to the unscriptural notion that the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper are present by virtue of the “incantation” of the pastor in some way,  The CTCR responded to a question about DVD consecration. While there certainly are some dissimilarities 1between the question at that time and the present question about a video streaming consecration, the similarities are so strong that we are referencing the 2006 opinion extensively here. See CTCR, “Opinion on DVD Consecration (2006) at
shape or form, rather than by the gracious power of Christ and his Word. “Concerning the consecration,” says the Formula of Concord, “we believe, teach, and confess that no man’s work nor the recitation of the minister effect this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but it is to be ascribed solely and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (FC Ep VII, 8; quoted in TPLS, 15). While it is true that “the regularly called and ordained pastors of the church are to officiate at the administration of Holy Communion” (TPLS, 17-18), it is only “through Christ’s word and its power”—not through the mere “sound” or “recording” of the voice of the pastor—“that Christ’s body and blood are present in the bread and wine” (TPLS, 14).  Novelties such as these in the practice of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably lead away from the Sacrament itself as instituted by Christ to humanly-instituted techniques by which the Sacrament is purportedly being given. Note the third point raised by the CTCR in 2006:  3.As emphasized above, the focus in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper must always be on the gracious word of Christ—the word that gives assurance to hearts weighed down by guilt, doubt and fear that the great gifts promised here are truly given and received. The Commission says: “To...insert some personal idiosyncrasy into the consecration is to detract the people’s attention from the Sacrament. The congregation’s focus is to be on Christ’s word and invitation. The celebrant is a servant to sharpen that focus” (TPLS, 15). The Lord’s Supper is intended to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, a faith which counts on the Word of Christ’s promise that the bread and wine are His body and blood. To introduce doubts or uncertainty about the Sacrament negates this purpose. We can be thankful that God in His mercy has not given the Lord’s Supper as the only “means of grace.” Instead, he showers us with His grace. The Gospel is not silenced, forgiveness is proclaimed, Baptism will be administered even in emergencies, and Baptism is lived out daily by means of repentance and the new life that God’s Spirit enables us to live in any and all circumstances. 

Is there an online version of this somewhere? The formatting freaked out in the above paragraph, right in the guts of the argument they're making.

Pr. Morris:

You may have already found this on the Michigan District, but a direct URL to the document is below:

I also tried attaching the PDF to this post.

Your Turn / Re: Books getting a buzz: And they are about religion!
« on: November 04, 2019, 09:53:50 AM »

   The fourth and fifth are two  books reviewed in today’s New York Times.
Who is an Evangelical: The History of a Movement in Crisis by Thomas Kidd; and The Immoral Majority: Why Evangelicals Chose Political Power Over Christian Values by Ben Howe.
   The titles tell me these should be good reading.


The interviews with Thomas Kidd and Ben Howe over the past few months have piqued my interest in those two titles. Poking around the Internet, you can find podcasts led by Matt Lewis and Jonah Goldberg where the two authors were guests. I think those two books might get added to the Christmas shopping list.

Your Turn / Re: Leipzig Interim
« on: August 20, 2019, 03:18:17 PM »
English translations of the Augsburg Interim and the Leipzig Interim can be found in Sources and Contexts of The Book of Concord edited by Robert Kolb and James Nestingen. That's a good volume to have on hand when doing studies in the origin of the Lutheran Confessions.

2019 LCMS Convention / Re: Tuesday Afternoon
« on: July 23, 2019, 02:39:27 PM »
Two questions.  I'm comparing the Twitter feed for some of this.
1. Why are there only like 900 total votes in most of these?  Are over half the delegates missing?
2. Is Male/Female an important distinction?  The only noted United List candidate that lost (and convincingly) was a male (Paul) up against a female (Janis), unless I'm reading names wrong?

Question 2 is one that I've thought of on occasion. Thinking back on elections over the past three District Conventions, I've noticed that female candidates tend to have a better winning percentage than male candidates. This was particularly noticeable in elections with no incumbents.

Anecdotal evidence related by some delegates that I've spoken to is that they showed a bias toward female candidates in elections where the option was open. Given that all ordained seats in LCMS elections can be held only by men, this was seen as a way of adding other perspectives to governing boards.

How true that might be for delegates and how many delegates are thinking that way, I don't know. But that thought has been expressed. Looking at the results of Tuesday afternoon voting, it may be that some others  across the Synod may hold to that idea. The Graumann/Millar election to the CHI Board, that may be one where this was a factor.

That said, I don't know how much that played into the McDaniels/Techau election on the National Board for Mission. I know both of them well and believe both were highly qualified for that office: Janis was a member of my vicarage congregation and I've served on an RSO Board involved with urban missions with Paul. Janis has served in multiple LWML leadership capacities, which probably made her a bit more well known and definitely showed mission credentials.

2019 LCMS Convention / Re: Tuesday Morning
« on: July 23, 2019, 10:52:34 AM »
Back from the break and a delegate brings a motion to have 9-02 (which was brought out of omnibus and deals with commissioned ministers) to be brought before the convention prior to close of business on Wednesday.

The resolution has been prepared and should come before the convention tomorrow morning. The Chair says that it will change the orders of the day and therefore the motion requires a 2/3 vote to change the orders of the day. The chair promises that it will come up, the delegate is not mollified and wants his motion voted on. President Harrison tries to talk him down from the ledge to no avail. So we are going to waste time on a vote that will not pass (42%) to affirm something that is already going to happen.

And on to ecclesiastical supervision now 20 minutes behind schedule
After watching that, I wonder what the Floor Committee might infer from that action. Might the Floor Committee take this as a "sense of the Convention" that delegates don't actually want to adopt Overture 9-22?

2019 LCMS Convention / Re: Monday Afternoon
« on: July 22, 2019, 03:05:36 PM »
I know there are a few District Secretaries who are active on the Forum, some of us who have navigated through the tangled web of making wide changes to District Bylaws. It must be ten times worse dealing with the Byzantine complexity of Synod Constitution and Bylaws. Good to see that Committee 9 got some of its resolutions through. I hope that the constitutional amendments will receive ratification, bringing the process to successful completion.

2019 LCMS Convention / Re: Monday Morning - LCMS BOD
« on: July 22, 2019, 11:03:34 AM »
At Large Commissioned Member
(Today's business includes the bio for yesterday's floor nominee)
Steven Buuck
Susan Hewitt
Jan Lohmeyer

Lohmeyer is the floor nominee and the United List candidate. Missed the first round of votes as my Regional VP Chris Esget stopped by ALPB Headquarters to bring greetings and tell me the ALPB should spring the $80 for wifi. I am told that "they will take that under advisement"

Buuck 46 %
Lohmeyer 54%

Central Lay Delegate BOD
Charles Anderson 35
Andrew Grams 65

Grams the united candidate is elected

West-Southwest Lay Member BOD
James Rundzheimer 31
Jessie Yow 69

Jessie Yow the united candidate is elected

At Large Lay Member BOD
Christian Preus 61
Linda Stoterau 39

Christian Preus the united candidate is elected

That closes out the morning elections with the United List continuing to hold a 60% voting block.

And Thomas Egger arrives 5 minutes early to deliver his convention essay and provide delegates with a chance to head for the bathrooms.

It's interesting to compare the vote results for the three layperson elections. Jesse Yow happened to be endorsed by both the United List and Congregations Matter, yet didn't receive many more votes than the winners in the other two elections where endorsements were split. Both the Yow election and the Grams election were open seats with no incumbent, yet their vote totals are very similar. 

Based on that, I'm not sure if there is a 60% voting bloc for the United List candidates. Looking at the Vice-Presidential elections, particularly the East-Southeast and West-Southwest regions, it looks like the bloc might be closer to a slim majority, somewhere between 50-53%. (Both Esget and Murray were incumbents, yet barely received a majority on the first ballot.) I think that the election of Jan Lohmeyer, a floor nominee, to the BOD is also highly indicative of that.

Your Turn / Re: Hymns and poetry
« on: July 15, 2019, 01:05:18 PM »
Interesting thread to read!

I'd find my answers primarily in the English hymnody tradition: the end product of authors writing in their and our own language. The examples listed by Richard Johnson above are hard to top:
"My Song Is Love Unknown" - Samuel Crossman
"Wilt Thou Forgive That Sin" - John Donne

Some other English hymns that come to mind:
"Drop, Drop, Slow Tears" - Phineas Fletcher
"The Son of God Goes Forth to War" - Reginald Heber
"King of Glory, King of Peace" - George Herbert
"For All the Saints Who from Their Labors Rest" - William How
"Lead, Kindly Light" - John Henry Newman
"See the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph" - Christopher Wordsworth

That said, the translations of Lutheran chorales listed in some answers are outstanding examples, as they are the result of two poets. The ability of translators to take a fine poem in one language and make it anywhere near as good in another language is a skill worth full praise! "Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart" is a great example of that. I'd also add "Awake, My Heart, with Gladness" by Paul Gerhardt and translated by John Kelly. 


Your Turn / Re: LCMS Election
« on: June 25, 2019, 10:37:30 AM »
Do we see the election results (whether a President is elected or whether there will be another election) today or tomorrow?

I've seen both, so I'm not sure which is correct.  I'm assuming voting goes maybe through midnight and it will be tomorrow.

David, the instructions to electors included the following, which would seem to answer your question:

All votes must be submitted by 11:59 pm (Central time) on June 25, 2019.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be retained on the ballot, and a second vote shall be taken in the same manner. If a second vote is necessary, the site will publish a notice on June 27, 2019. The actual election will take place starting on June 29th. You will receive an email notice when the site is open and you may cast your vote.

Your Turn / Re: 2019 Synod Assembies: Something in the Air?
« on: June 20, 2019, 12:23:01 PM »
Actually, I think that learning strategy at the army’s war college might be pretty good training for a bishop.

I certainly agree as an alumnus. The experience enhances one's leadership qualities and it's good for any calling - military, civilian, secular, or ecclesiastical.

Peace, JOHN

Continuing the slight detour from the topic of Synod Assemblies:

My congregation has certainly benefitted by having LCMS members in the Armed Forces attend during their stay at the US Army War College. (Calvary in Mechanicsburg, PA is the nearest LCMS congregation to Carlisle, PA.) We've had at least one LCMS family from the War College for eight of the eleven years of my pastorate; some years we've had two or three families. That type of rate has also been seen in the congregation's past. Some students have been chaplains, including a man who just graduated and will be helping a vacant congregation prior to deploying in the new year. We've also had War College staff members attend. Each of these families bring their talents and gifts during their year at the institution.

I can't speak for the ELCA congregations in the area, but I'd hope that they have similarly benefitted. And I would definitely think that some of the training Rev. Lozano received will help in his administrative duties for the NW PA Synod.

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