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Topics - Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Your Turn / Culture Wars at a Library
« on: August 05, 2022, 09:25:35 AM »
This was an interesting article about cultural challenges in a small community.

I pray the Great Litany often and have begun using it with my people. One line in the Litany that I'm curious about is in the petitions for the Church: To accompany Your Word with Your grace and Spirit.

Is the Word ever without God's grace and Spirit? What precisely is sought in this petition?

Your Turn / Sermon Sharing. Luke 12:13--21
« on: July 30, 2022, 09:42:12 AM »
Greetings. Picking at my sermon text this morning. Found it interesting that the rich man is satisfied with his physical wealth, then addresses his "soul," focusing on physical pleasures. To be consistent in his devotion, he might have said, "Body, you have ample goods . . ." Feels ironic to me. Again ironic that God uses "rich" to describe a spiritual relationship. The man turns things upsidedown by treating the spiritual as physical. God turns them the opposite way.

Makes me think of the people describing physical experiences as "spiritual," like a trip to the woods or the sea. They see themselves cultivating spirituality while neglecting the Spirit, who made all things.

I invite further thoughts from those studying the text.

Your Turn / Help for Discussion of Abortion and Life Topics
« on: July 18, 2022, 05:09:29 PM »
Abortion and Life topics are especially common right now in Ohio. I've announced to the congregation that I plan to lead a discussion of these topics at an upcoming Bible class on a Sunday. I'm looking at the Lutherans for Life site for help, especially data for handouts. I invite others to recommend resources that provide data helpful to such a discussion.

Also, thoughts on what MUST be covered in a one hour presentation/discussion.Thanks in advance.

Your Turn / Light from Light
« on: July 14, 2022, 07:57:30 PM »
Light from Light

Blessed today as we drove along Keuka Lake, western light winking through the trees. I found myself thinking about the Holy Trinity.

The sun's orb shone from above, radiant beams reached through the clouds, light reflected brilliant upon the waters---light from light.

The light was all one, yet visibly three. The light was heavenly, yet warmed the earth. The light made all things very good---blessed light from light.

Your Turn / "Faith---The Trajectory of the Prophets"
« on: June 28, 2022, 04:39:20 PM »
S. D. Giere's article offers helpful comments at a number of points. "Faith is the goal and justice is the fruit" with the clarification that it is specifically faith "in the Triune God alone" (Lutheran Forum, Summer 2021, p. 25).

He notes, "A preponderance of students who come to seminary [in the ELCA] want to be prophets. To be agents of change" (p. 27). Here is the fruit of Liberation Theology. Giere helpfully notes, "The vocation of the pastor is to steward the word by proclaiming the gospel and stewarding the sacraments in a manner congruent with the gospel."

"Skipping over faith in the interest of justice bends well-intentioned prophecy towards false prophecy, as it leaves the object of the trust something other than the Triune God." (p. 28).

Your Turn / Thanks for "Here I Dissent: Luther's Stance at Worms"
« on: June 28, 2022, 11:52:47 AM »
I enjoyed Richard J. Serina Jr.'s substantive article on medieval due process for university professors, which clarifies just how far his accusers strayed from established practice (not to mention doctrine; Lutheran Forum, Summer, 2021, 49--56). He lists five examples.

A helpful follow up on the article would be the biblical doctrine of conscience (syneidesis; conscientia).

Your Turn / cur alii prae aliis
« on: June 09, 2022, 01:00:33 PM »
Here's a question for you, Ed - let's say an underlying theological issue in most mainline Protestant groups is universalism.  The old question has been "cur alii prae alii?"  And that has led through the centuries to a lot of debate about the dogma/doctrine of election - double predestination, etc. etc.

So if and as universal salvation at the end is declared as the natural extension of "God so loved...." and the exhortation to "judge not lest you be judged" is the way dogmatically to steer clear of eschatological debates, what is left then of the Law and the Gospel.  On the Gospel side there's objective and universal justification/reconciliation, so there's the theo-logic that universal redemption belongs to Christ alone in the end.  On the Gospel side also, though, is incentive to share the Gospel changed in terms of urgency?  Which means on the Law side, if all are eventually saved, what's left of the Law that condemns?

That to me is a dialog that is in waiting, but I haven't heard about it being actually held.

Dave Benke

Your Turn / The Effort to Normalize Everything
« on: June 04, 2022, 08:10:00 AM »
As I watch the news coming in about the controversy in the ELCA's Sierra Pacific Synod, I wonder about the broader social trend to normalize all manner of belief and behavior in the name of social justice and equality. The matter seems to involve normalizing:

Variant doctrine/practice
Varying views of sexuality

The one thing not normalized was whatever the dismissed pastor had said to his colleague, which I don't think has been reported. Is the effort to normalize as we are seeing in this case inherently doomed to failure? Or will this confusion about standards become the new normal?

Your Turn / VBS
« on: May 31, 2022, 10:28:09 AM »
We will hit the streets this week to start canvassing for VBS. This is the first canvassing we've done in two years! Covid is still lingering out there. We've had a family affected in recent days but most everyone seems ready to restart serious outreach. I'm wondering whether other congregations will do VBS this year.

Your Turn / 1 Corinthians 15:8
« on: May 15, 2022, 07:11:40 AM »
This came up in Bible class last week. What does Paul mean when he says he is one "untimely born" (ESV)? Various translations occur.

Your Turn / Constrained and Unconstrained Views of Human Nature
« on: May 06, 2022, 06:57:06 AM »
In my morning reading, I came across this passage about the thought of Thomas Sowell. It's from "The Continuing Importance of Thomas Sowell"  by Jason L. Riley of the Manhattan Institute and The Wall Street Journal (Imprimis, March 2022, Vol. 3, No. 3). It helpfully describes one reason for the continued left v. right struggle in American life.

Sowell says his favorite of his own books is A Conflict of Visions, in which he tries to explain what drives our ideological disputes about freedom, equality, and justice. He traces these divergent “visions,” or views of human nature, back at least two centuries, to thinkers like William Godwin, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, down through John Rawls and today’s social justice advocates.

The conflicting visions he describes in the book are the constrained or tragic view of human nature and the unconstrained or utopian view. People with a more constrained view of the human condition see mankind as hopelessly flawed. They see inherent limits to human betterment. We might want to end war or poverty or racism, they say, but that’s probably not going to happen. Therefore, our focus should be on putting in place institutions and processes that help society deal with problems we’re never going to eradicate.

On the other side you have the unconstrained or utopian view of human nature, which rejects the idea that there are limits to what humans can achieve. This is the belief that nothing is unattainable and no trade-offs are necessary. According to this perspective, by utilizing the proper amount of reason and will power, we can not only manage problems like war, poverty, and racism, but solve them entirely.

Depending on which view they embrace, Sowell explains why two people, similarly well-informed and similarly well-meaning, will reach opposite conclusions on a whole range of issues including taxes, rent control, school choice, military spending, and judicial activism.

When Kant said that from the “crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made,” he was exhibiting the constrained view. When Rousseau said that “man is born free but everywhere is in chains,” he was voicing the unconstrained view. When Oliver Wendell Holmes said his job as a judge was to make sure the game is played according to the rules, whether he liked them or not, it was a constrained view. When Earl Warren said his job as a judge was to do what he thinks is right, regardless of the law, it was an unconstrained view. This is the philosophical framework that explains Sowell’s writings on almost any topic.

Here is a link to the full article:

Your Turn / Beautiful Days
« on: April 18, 2022, 08:37:33 PM »
Praise God, we enjoyed Palm Sunday and Easter immensely this year. Post-Covid recovery continues. Our attendance is, of course, still below 2019 but has improved again in this season. (We continue to have a segment watching from home and kindly submitting their offerings.) I am greatly encouraged and grateful to our Lord. Remarkably, we had no funerals during Lent. Requests and plans for Baptisms are on the rise again. I pray things continue to improve in your areas.

Your Turn / What Were They Thinking?
« on: April 09, 2022, 07:07:44 AM »
The lectionary has Luke 22:14--23:56 for the Passion/Palm Sunday reading, which is incredibly long. I'll read and preach from Luke 19:28b--44 to keep closer to traditional Palm Sunday. We have procession with children, children's sermon for the first time in two years, choir singing, duet singing. We have so much going on, I can't imagine doing the full appointed reading.

I'm wondering what others have planned. Will you read that huge lection, something else? Why exactly did the lectionary folks have this huge reading and how might it be handled/presented well?

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