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Messages - Padre Emeritus

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Your Turn / Re: What a Wonderful, Blessed Day!
« on: May 16, 2023, 02:16:45 PM »
This budding oldster got a great boost this past week:  A new spinal cord stimulator was surgically implanted in my back that sends out these amazing pulses of electricity from connected 10 year battery.  The result:  immediately after it was turned on I was able to stand up to my true 6’3” height in over a year.  This past Sunday I presided at the Eucharist twice and lead a Bible study between the services.

I am serving at Risen Savior in Chandler, AZ for the past year and a half and have had a marvelous time serving as the “Pastoral Care” guy by doing visits and such things I was unable to do in the past either because of pain.  I will discipline myself for my 1/4 time expectation here, but honestly don’t keep track of it.  The folks love my liturgical style (“you do it like you mean it!) and ready smile.  They also enjoy that I meet them outside the church door, even when it is 100 degrees out. 

This old Padre has a few sermons left in him and lots of presiding, God willing!

Your Turn / Re: Thread for discussion of Russia and Ukraine...
« on: March 04, 2023, 05:26:11 PM »
As one who was born at the armistice of the Korean Conflict, I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, served during the Vietnam Conflict and missed being in country by a month or close when the Paris Peace Talks caused my orders to be canceled.  I was an enlisted medic during that service.  I was a reserve Medical Service Corps officer and literally missed mobilization to England during Operation Desert Storm.  I resigned my Commission before I got into the whole Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and was too old to be commissioned as a Chaplain by the time I was rostered.  My only reason for sharing this is that I have watched the Cold War and then the post-Cold War realignment of national boundaries and alliances.  9/11 put a nation that was just plain tired of the long Vietnam conflict into the usual bipolar foreign policy of both Democrat and Republican administrations.

When the Russians left Eastern Europe after 70 years of mismanagement, corruption and persecution those nations sought out defense from those who previously liberated their continent. The defeat of the Nazis as well as the communists is largely through the group that never gets along:  NATO.  I sympathize with the old “Eastern Bloc” nations seeking out political and economic security to the Europe they watched from afar.  The problem is that Europe changed culturally and politically.  Europe had previously changed during the 2 preceding World Wars; it was now free and confused.  The low birth rates amongst Europeans mirrored those of the US.  The humanitarian admission of Middle Easterners has changed the ethnic makeup of Europe.  While there have always been “tribes” within Europe, the influx of a group of people who were religious in the Muslim faith were perplexing to the Europeans who certainly didn’t practice isolation from those of different or no religious faith, the Muslims resided together in neighborhoods and did not assimilate with their hosts.  History will likely see this changes as Middle Easterners of future generations follow the practice of Western great grandchildren of the immigrants by assimilating and maybe even intermarrying. 

So, why are we sending billions in support to Ukraine?  C’mon, freedom, justice and the American Way!  I pray that our elected leaders of both parties carefully recall how America has entered the past wars we in, as Ukraine is not 9/11.  If we are going to get into a proxy war with Russia and China in the cities of Ukraine, are we presently equipped for war and are our children and grandchildren going to be offered to accomplish the objectives….whatever they are?  In high school, I was ready and willing to serve in the Vietnam Conflict….a year on active duty caused me to marvel how the military I was in ever won a war…and after 20 + years I was proven correct.  Afghanistan’s withdrawal was eerily similar to  Vietnam (we could have finished that one at the beginning, but that if for military scholars, not some kid medic to pontificate on) and I ultimately wonder if our country has the heart to actually WIN a war.

I pray for the peace of Ukraine, that the Russians will simply stop the war they started.  I pray it happens soon because I see an American pattern repeating itself.

Your Turn / Re: When a Christians Faces Death
« on: November 07, 2022, 08:33:24 PM »
As one of the few Pastors on this site that actually know you, I pray that our Lord give you comfort in His Word and Sacraments.  I pray you have a Pastor who visits you and provides the Eucharist to you and Linda on a very regular basis (like weekly). 

May God continue to remind you each moment that you are His!  Now and forever.



Your Turn / Re: Why our children and grandchildren don't go to church.
« on: November 07, 2022, 08:25:42 PM »
I have been thinking about this for a long time, and here is what I currently observe:

Since my generation (Boomer) were raised with church attendance being expected at least through middle school or Confirmation.  For reasons that are difficult for me to understand, many of us boomer kids didn’t like going to church.  When we Boomers had kids, we crafted what I believe to be spiritual child abuse with: “We will let them decide if they want to go or not”.  Concurrent with this thinking was Sunday morning soccer leagues, which gave kids who didn’t want to go to church and “out”.  These children of Boomers got married and had kids.  These (Gen x?) parents didn’t have church on their radar, so they never brought up going to church.  These grandchildren of Boomers have no idea what church is unless they have those rare parents and grandparents who attend church.

That means 3 generations not formed by Word and Sacrament.  That means we have become a non-Christian nation, save those Boomers and our parents who continue to attend and participate in the Christian Church.

I have been reading a lot about the Catechuminate as a “slow-walk” to Christian formation.  The 4 class + dinner approach the parish I currently serve would be totally inadequate if not for the fact that all of the 30 or so participants are “churched”, the majority being LCMS….maybe they attend because the Pastoral Care guy is funny, or maybe because they get a free dinner with the Senior Pastor…..

I anticipate there will be more and more family Baptisms, and if we are credible we will do everything we can to form families in the Christian Faith.

Your Turn / Re: Why our children and grandchildren don't go to church.
« on: November 07, 2022, 08:10:14 PM »
Keep us informed on this, Brian - these kinds of conversations take place all the time.  Would love to hear the perspectives of Dr. Lose and those at the retreat.
A little self-interest here, because I'm one of the speakers at the Veterans of the Cross retreat in March, which functions as the LCMS version of a church-wide senior retreat.

Dave Benke

Really?  I have never heard of them….but I live in the 3rd world country of Arizona, so I am not surprised.

Your Turn / Re: Convention Delegate
« on: November 07, 2022, 07:03:42 PM »
My final service as a Pastoral Delegate came at the Convention after the incumbents came into power.  I found it a most discouraging spectacle with nearly every resolution being decided by a 93% for and 7% against what the current incumbents wanted to happen.  By the beginning of the second day I turned in my little bottom on the lanyard and brought a book to read. 

I was elected to go again 3 years later (why did my Circuit brothers despise me so?) but had to withdraw be cause I retired and was no longer eligible to represent my Circuit.  In retirement I give thanks to God that I can no longer let my sense of duty cause me to consent to being considered again.

Your Turn / Re: Christian life, Church, and Mission
« on: October 11, 2022, 11:36:25 PM »

I am sorry to hear of your cancer, but your true confession of the faith gives you more to look forward to that I am, admittedly, a bit jealous that you will see our Savior face to face before me.

You may recall that I resigned my position as Deacon at Fountain of Life when the decision was made to issue you a Divine Call as Associate Pastor for Assimilation because I knew that you and Eldon would clash and that you would be gone in 18 months. 

To characterize your service at Fountain of Life as you have showed me that I was correct, and since I was a worker priest, and had a full-time teaching job I did not want to be the go-between you two.  Leaving FOL was fortuitous for me as I received a Call to Holy Trinity and completed my Colloquy during that time.  My service to the Church has been a joy to me and it will, by His grace, continue to be so.

God is with you, Richard, and I will see you in heaven…..but in the meantime “with Angels and Archangels and all the company of heaven…..”

Your Turn / Re: Christian life, Church, and Mission
« on: October 10, 2022, 10:44:57 PM »
About a year ago I was asked to join the pastoral staff of a large suburban congregation in Arizona.  It is unusual in that it is very healthy and growing.  I am still a bit in awe of my placement in this parish, but am enjoying it more than any previous time in the Holy Ministry.  The sanctuary building is the original church and is, in my opinion the most beautiful liturgical space, second only to the Lutheran Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania (I was privileged to serve a vacation vacancy in the English speaking congregation that meets at our partner church sanctuary).  It was built under the direction of a now sainted evangelical catholic pastor in the nth degree.  That my position is to serve as Liturgist at both 0800 Divine Service (unfortunately alternation Eucharist offering) and 1100 with the Eucharist offered at every service.  There is room for 450-500 persona.  A very active Preschool operates in the complex that make up the Sanctuary, which was an addition to the original building)

Almost a city block north of this Sanctuary is the Worship Center.  It is a space designed under the care of the current Senior Pastor.  While the stage has a smaller version of the Risen Savior in the Sanctuary, an altar with 4 mobile stations that are moved around the arena for the Eucharist offered biweekly.  There are seats for around 800.  It is designed as a contemporary worship facility.  Vestments are not worn, but rather an open collared oxford shirt and sport coat (I plan to try doing the service in a long sleeved dress shirt just to be rebellious).  The same order of service that is held in the Sanctuary is done in the Worship Center but with screens everywhere (I scared myself the first time I caught myself on the TV out of the corner of my eye….it was weird.)

Between the two buildings designed for worship is a former bank building (which was part of the deal on the land for the Worship Center) that is now the parish offices.  With furnishings that no congregation could or would ever invest in, this is a grandiose center!  The safe is still in place and everything.  Our staff is growing to the point where we now have a 4 cube office in a large room where your resident liturgical guy places his stuff.

I describe this because it is everything my 30+ years of ministry was not.  I am paid for my time (even though emeritus, I am old enough to keep my SS and pensions and asked to go home if there too much, or offered more money if I need to work more….WOW!  The biggest part of my weekly pastoral care is visiting those hospitalized, homebound or in institutions of memory care, bringing Holy Communion to each….I have most on bi-monthly visits, a few prefer once a month.  I do all of the Baptisms and a good number of funerals and Memorial Services.

We have also embarked on a “Pastor Sharing Agreement” with a small rural parish about 60 miles from the campus.  The prior Associate Pastor is now the Called Pastor of the rural congregation with 70% of his compensation package is paid by the rural parish and 30% by the home church.  I preach and preside at the rural parish once a month, where the pastor of the rural parish does my job for a Sunday. This is working quite well from all sides of the equation.

Another key factor:  the music in both the Sanctuary and Worship Center is top notch.  An excellent organ, Cantor, choir and hymns.  The Worship Center Praise Band is led by a very serious musician who writes or finds songs that are easy to learn but substantive in words.

I also describe this in this thread because next week I am leading the first 2 weeks of a New Member class that is nearing 40 in number.  Using our Senior Pastor’s outlines, I am free to add material that I desire.  I will attempt to describe and persuade by Scripture and Confessions the faith we call LCMS Lutheran.  I thank you for your thoughts and excellent presentation of what it means to be a LCMS Lutheran today.  Pray for me!

I’ve gone from being a Catholic-Lutheran to being a Lutheran-Catholic.
So there’s that…

Peter (Something bracing about being 800 years behind the times) Garrison

My dear STS brother will forever be my favorite poster on these parts…..Padre, (who can’t come up with a cute byline) Dave

Your Turn / Re: Warning sign for future bivocational pastors
« on: November 06, 2021, 10:49:21 AM »
As one of said bivocational pastors (I preferred “worker-priest”) I was a community college professor prior to entering the ministry and continued working full-time as same until my retirement, after which I accepted a Call as a full-time Pastor.  Not long afterwards I added Campus Pastor and Theology teacher to my duties as we hosted a Lutheran high school on our campus.

Towards the end of my community college career, I began to see changes in the campus community which would likely prove troublesome to me had I stayed there beyond my 30 years of teaching.  While the occasional student would complain about my referring to the developing baby as a baby (I taught human anatomy and physiology) rather than as any number of the terms at the stage of development, I began to receive irritant comments from my Campus President for wearing a clerical collar while serving as a counselor towards the end of my career.  When I pointed out to her that there was no faculty dress code, she backed off.

As time went on the campus administration became more “woke” and trivial in the kinds of irritants that provoked challenges and comments.  I am glad I am now retired from teaching and parish ministry.  That said, I continue to preach and preside for any number of congregations.  I thank God for that!

Your Turn / Re: Colin Powell +
« on: November 06, 2021, 10:23:40 AM »
I watched all of Colin Powell's funeral at the National Cathedral. The explicit and forthright Christian witness was impressive. General Powell was, after all, a serious and committed Christian. He grew up in a conservative, high church Episcopal parish and served as an acolyte at the appropriate ages. Faithfulness to the Church stuck with him throughout his life..

However, I lament the unrelenting praise for the man. He certainly deserved every bit of that and more. But it seemed overdone for a Christian funeral where we gather to honor Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it seems to be the America way of dealing with death.

Having said that it occurred to me during those eulogies that it is amazing how many "tribes" claimed him--the military (all five Services), Episcopalians, New York City (esp., the Bronx  ;D), immigrants, the diplomatic corps, general politicians of both parties (including presidents), Afro-Americans, car enthusiasts (he rebuilt no less than 35 Volvos), and maybe more!

(As always, those military members did a superb job. They are all low ranking individuals who were chosen for superior performance of ordinary duty. Something for them to remember all their lives.)

May he rest in peace and eternal light shine upon him.

Peace, JOHN

I, too, watched the funeral.  I concur that there were too many eulogies, but I found the sermon by the Army Chaplain and Episcopal Priest very refreshing and a clear proclamation of the Gospel.

The music was superb and appropriate for a Christian funeral.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him.  Amen.

Your Turn / Re: Disposal of Vestments
« on: June 30, 2021, 04:30:05 AM »
As a tangent, I have chasubles of every liturgy color and a couple of very nice copes. All in nice condition. If interested, PM me, and I'll send you pics. Otherwise, I'm putting them on eBay. Or, if there is a recently ordained pastor lurking, PM me, and I'd be happy to gift you the chasubles.

Great idea!  I live in Mesa, AZ.  Phoenix is one of our suburbs and the Valley is quite expansive.  On that note, I would be honored to gift my chasubles to a new, or one renewed by the Evangelical Catholic expression of the Lutheran/Catholic faith.  I have some interesting chasubles that have been a treasure to me.  The reality is that I will never rest in these fine Eucharistic vestments.  The most I can get away with is an alb and stole….otherwise it seems to be “more welcoming” to preach and preside in street clothes.  Even a clerical collar is now seen as “off-putting”


Anyway, contact me if you would be interested in more details.  I haven’t taken pictures of them yet, but I will if the recipient prefers,

God bless you in His grace and mercy and joy!

Your Turn / Re: Lessons Learned.
« on: March 31, 2021, 12:02:08 PM »
Brian:  and a wonderful meal and fellowship and conversation it was!  Should you be in the Mesa area, we should do it again at our home this time.

Your Turn / Re: Easter and the End of Mark's Gospel
« on: March 30, 2021, 06:09:36 PM »
Just a FYI, I have a NRSV in very large font that has Apocrypha interspersed amongst the OT books much like other Anglican preparations, rather than the Lutheran arrangement as a group between Testaments.

Your Turn / Re: Lessons Learned.
« on: March 30, 2021, 05:35:02 PM »

We haven’t met, and I enjoyed this post of yours as I often enjoy reading and trying to decipher exactly what you are trying to say and in this crazy Synod, what you are trying NOT to say.  We can be SO rude to each other… tact lacking in the LCMS theological mind?  Best construction on your fellow Christian’s words or actions?  Define “best construction” as we look for ways to undermine and discourage those we either disagree with or don’t understand.  This is the primary reason I no longer participate in anything much more than Circuit wide…..we have a wonderful Circuit of incredibly bright and sharp and KIND Pastors, every one of them…..rarely have I experienced this outside of Arizona where all of my ministry was served and where I continue to live, worship and preach and preside when anyone will have me. 

One of the things I love about the ALPB is the ideal of civility amongst all of the clergy and laity in this Confessional ecclesia called Lutheran.  I found the same and more in the Society of the Holy Trinity until I dared preach at the Closing Eucharist of our General Retreat with our Senior presiding in the Chapel of one of our seminaries.  I give thanks for my salt-water District and the successive line of great Bishops who made it possible for me to remain in good standing.

If only……. I have a very long list.

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