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Topics - RogerMartim

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31
Your Turn / Confirmation Nowadays
« on: October 02, 2011, 08:21:32 PM »
My mother was invited to her grand-niece's confirmation this afternoon (outside of the regular morning services). She asked me to go and I refused knowing what it would be like. She called me afterwards and was very upset.

Three-fourths of the confirmands had a goth look with pitch-black dyed hair, piercings galore, and one had a tattoo.

There was a rock band which played so loud that my mother's ears are still hurting two-three hours after the confirmation service.

There was a communion liturgy and these goth spectres of 13 and 14 years of age did the distribution. My mother did not go to communion. To her it has to be a mindset to which in this case she didn't feel anything spiritual. She reminds herself constantly that God doesn't care how we comport ourselves but if you end up in a state of shock over the triviality of how God is worshiped and none of the confirmands barely understand what it is all about, can we blame my mother?

Is there a future in the church with so many people leaving in droves. Atheism is the fastest growing "religion" nowadays. Kids are not being taught the basis of the Christian faith except through the fringe edges of modern culture and that is a weak link.

I decided to go to a different church today and I was disappointed that there was a bunch of women blowing on the stems of their tea pots flipping their hand up and down on the top of the tea pots giving a rendition of "Abide with Me." I am not sure whether it was my mother or I who had the worse worship experience.

I have a feeling I am going to end up in Rome. lol


32
Your Turn / A Mormon for a President?
« on: August 12, 2011, 04:50:00 PM »
Last night on Fox News with the debate in Des Moines among the many and varied Republican hopefuls for the White House in 2012, how should a Lutheran consider the possibility of a Mormon leading our country? Should it be a consideration?

Not so sure about Jon Huntsman's orthopraxy with his Mormon faith, but Mitt Romney kind of scares me with his blind adherency to Salt Lake City. Unlike JFK and the Catholic issue with the Pope in the early 60s, Romney has to follow the dictates of the sitting Prophet to reach the Celestial Kingdom on the Planet Kolob somewhere. It's probable that the Prophet wil pull no punches to rock the boat but again, Romney is a blind follower of LDS.

Today it was posted that he and his wife's charitable giving were mostly to the LDS Church, the required 10 percent tithe. There was some to Multiple Sclerosis of which Mrs. Romeny suffers. The family is worth about 250 million.

What say you?

 

33
Your Turn / Are there standards of worship within Lutheranism...
« on: July 25, 2011, 09:15:19 PM »
...or are they all over the board?

I know liturgy and theology because of my 19 years of working in a Lutheran church office. I formatted bulletins and I knew every word that went into it. However, I don't think that I could have typed in these words as follows in the confession in a recent bulletin that I read online to keep in touch. it's been 14 years since I've worked at this church.

"Heavenly Father, you dwell within us in sighs too deep for words,
yet we do not hear you.
Caring Mother, you wrap us tenderly in fierce love,
yet we cannot touch you.
Brother Jesus, in you your self-sacrifice we know abundant grace,
yet we cannot see you.
Sister Spirit, you infuse our souls with your being,
yet our minds turn from you.
As the one who breathes life into us,
gather us up in the winds of your favor and redeem us
through Christ who loves us still."

I see so many things wrong with this. It besmacks of Gnosticism with its esoteric language (who's Caring Mother? who's Brother Jesus? who's Sister Spirit?) Instead of God's name which is Father, Son, Holy Spirit, we come up with four personages. Jesus is my brother?

I just do not understand all this playing around with words.

At this same church, the bulletin cover featured a Jesus with an obviously female head that looked like he came out of a Vidal Sassoon salon.

I just don't understand.

34
Your Turn / The Filioque Phrase in the Creed
« on: June 15, 2011, 01:14:04 PM »
I am not sure if this has been discussed in this forum or not, but I am curious about the Nicene Creed in ELCA's hymnal, Worship where there is an asterisk attached to the phrase in the Third Article, "who proceeds from the Father and the Son," and then at the bottom of the Creed, *Or, "who proceeds from the Father." The phrase "and the Son" is a later addition in the creed. I know that this is a point of contention between the Western and Eastern churches. Is this an option now for the ELCA churches to recite the Or phrase rather than what we've been reciting all along for centuries? Wouldn't this be confusing to the average layperson who knows little about the Filioque controversy? Or is it simply a history lesson and is a hymnal the place to point this out?

35
Your Turn / Science and Religion
« on: January 10, 2011, 01:47:48 PM »
Science and religion are not exactly bosom buddies. I read once that more scientists subscribe to atheism/agnosticism than not. It probably shouldn’t be surprising given the inimical relationship between the two “belief” systems.

Since the Hubble telescope which roams the heavenly skies above Earth, galaxies upon galaxies (think billions) have been discovered. Hubble helped to verify for scientists that there was an event called “The Big Bang” some 13-14 billion years ago (Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.)

For many Lutherans Christians, no matter which branch, the scientific view of creation is rejected, relying instead on the 24/7 account of Genesis. This furthers the divide between the two systems. Rightly or wrongly, Science views believers as “flat-earthers” in that people refuse to give it credit for the many contributions it has made that has gone beyond being a “theory.”

What is our responsibility as Lutheran Christians, especially in teaching our children, that while we strongly believe “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth...”, to keep insisting on the terrestrial limitations of the 24/7. Once beyond the Earth’s gravitational zone, the 24/7 becomes moot and meaningless. Do we continue to flip the bird at science who by its very nature of the beast only goes by 1 +1 = 2? Do we make it an idolatry to insist that God who is timeless and eternal to be limited to our notion of time?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes: “The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers.”

Cannot science and religion become allies to give glory to God the Creator? Of course, science has its own responsibility too in recognizing the “Cause” of our being. And we as believers must meet science in appreciating the ever-enhancing knowledge that it gives us to all the more glorify God.

36
Your Turn / 'Tis the Season
« on: December 01, 2010, 02:38:22 PM »
I remember last year that I had wished a 'Merry Christmas' to a group of people at a social gathering. Admittedly it was a disparate group of folks but most were Christians of one stripe or another (at least I think they were). Later that evening I got a phone call from someone who was at the social event castigating me for my insensitivity. To be inclusive, I should have just said "Happy Holidays" or some such. While I am sensitive to the point that I would never say 'Merry Christmas' to someone who is Jewish or someone who is obviously not Christian, it is getting more and more difficult. What's it going to be to an individual that you are not sure about: Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Saturnalia, and God forbid, nowadays, Merry Christmas? At least I don't say a "Blessed Christmas" which I reserve for those I know to be on the same faith divide as mine. 'Seasons Greetings' or 'Happy Holidays' leave a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's just better to say "Good-bye" and not be bothered.

I think that I am safe to wish everyone here, albeit a bit early, a Blessed Christmas.

37
Your Turn / What Are We As Lutherans?
« on: September 19, 2010, 04:48:18 PM »
I ask this question because I don't know where we are at.

This is my take:

As Uniquely Lutheran, I am sure that many respondents both on this board and outside would resonate to this. But what does this really mean? It doesn't answer the question to many outside of Lutheranism. To most we are just Protestants.

Evangelical Catholics is what many of us like to call ourselves, but no one else has any idea of what that means, whether they be Catholic or Protestant.

Protestantism is way too generic for Lutherans, but my mother who is Lutheran to the core would identify herself as a Protestant too. Protestantism runs the gamut of High Church Episcopalianism to Seventh Day Adventistism, each with their own emphases and in some cases, different as day and night.

38
In the secular society it was a big day yesterday, especially in California.

If this decision goes all the way to the Supreme Court and upheld, how is that going to impact the Church?

For those who hold a sacramental view of marriage, I can see that this is going to be a big problem.

If marriage is simply a civil recognition of two people, the church doesn't even need to be involved.

I am not sure where I am at on this issue.

39
Your Turn / Placement of Communion Elements on the Altar
« on: May 15, 2010, 04:22:54 PM »
I grew up in Missouri Synod in the Midwest. In early adulthood I moved away and lived in the DC area for 35 years and there I belonged to an ELCA church. I returned to the Midwest and started worshipping again at the church I grew up in.

I had forgotten the LC-MS practice of the celebrant moving off to the right side of the altar to consecrate the elements. There is a missal stand dead center of the altar which never has a book on it. I am not sure why it is there if it is never used.

Does anyone know how this practice originated and why it is still done this way? Is it something akin to avoiding any kind of sacrificial element that might creep in if the pastor were to say the Verba in the center of the altar?

 

40
Your Turn / "The Jesus Camp" Movie
« on: May 09, 2010, 07:26:17 PM »
The other day I rented "The Jesus Camp" DVD at the video store. I was curious about it. It is a documentary about a camp where young children go, sort of like a Bible camp with a strong Evangelical fervor. It was one of the most chilling documentaries I've ever seen. I thought it was indoctrination of children in the worst way. Of course, it was the adults who were instilling into the kids that it was their way or no way. One can appreciate the anti-abortion stance of this group, but still, I wouldn't think that this would be the most effective way to get across the message. All this is not to mention that the wonderful word Evangelical has been completely hijacked and it becomes synonymous with self-righteousness. Surprisingly Ted Haggard of infamous reputation is featured in the film. I am not sure if the producers were using him to push the point further that it is all a crock or if the filming took place before he was "caught" in a compromising position that Evangelical pastors are not supposed to find themselves in.

I bring this up only because I know lots of people within Lutheran circles who empathize with Evangelicals. Again, I think that it takes discernment to know when a message is good or not. Unfortunately I think that too many of us do not.

Have any of you seen the film? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

41
Your Turn / Liturgical Uniformity, An Illusion?
« on: May 05, 2010, 05:50:34 PM »
I realize that there is no such thing as liturgical uniformity within the Lutheran Church, no matter which branch.

I relocated to the Midwest nine years ago after several years on the East Coast. In all this time, I am still church-shopping. Part of the problem is that I am looking for a church that was similar to the one that I belonged to back East and I don’t think that I am going to find it. The closest thing that I’ve come to is an Episcopal Church but quite simply I do not see myself as becoming an Episcopalian.

I believe that good liturgy requires all five senses; to be sure, some senses are utilized less than others. The reason I believe this is that I have a deficiency in one of my senses and so I have to rely on the others to make up for it. But I am digressing.

Whether it be the SBH, THL, LBW, LW, ELW or LSB (am I missing any here?), liturgical resources of the two main branches of American Lutheranism, there is a prescribed liturgy which gives us an identity as Lutherans, not to mention an identity with many other non-Lutheran churches. It used to be that a person could go to almost any Lutheran church and it would be the liturgy from one of the worship resources listed above.

Recently I went to an LC-MS church here in my city that I had never been to. There was absolutely nothing recognizable about the service. The pastor did not wear any vestments and was only in a suit and tie (actually a sports coat and tie). The church had dispensed of its fine organ and in its place was a band with singers to accompany the completely unfamiliar hymns or songs as they are called. Some members of the “choir” looked they were wannabe entertainers each holding microphones. There were no pericopes assigned to the Sunday that I was there. There was only one reading which obviously was chosen by the pastor to preach on. He preached for about 45 minutes. There happened to be communion on that particular Sunday but it was merely a blip in the service, kind of like, oh, there’s one more thing to do. Later on I found out from others that over half the congregation had left when this pastor started doing things the way he preferred. He was called to St. Louis for a hearing to discuss his unique style of worship but passed muster after a long and protracted review.

Then I went to my nephew’s confirmation at an ELCA church. It was the same thing—completely non-liturgical. Decidedly it was a much more “liberal” church even within the ELCA for this part of the country. Although the hymnal was not used, as it rarely is, the hymnal that was in the pew racks (for lack of a better description as there are no pews) is that of the United Church of Christ. It looked remarkably similar to the LBW but its language is very inclusive. Again, there was no liturgy, the pastors did not wear vestments unless a suit and tie can be considered thus. My brother-in-law and several other people got up during the “Pastor’s Talk” and went to the back to get a hot steaming cup of coffee to bring back to the seat. Again, there was the choir singing songs with its repetitive one-liners and splashed on a big overhead screen. It’s almost not unlike reading Hallmark greeting cards. Again, communion was something like out of the ordinary but it is done anyway.

I could go on and on, but ironically there is a small church which is about ten miles from me. It holds the most promise as being faithful to the Lutheran liturgical tradition. It serves mostly the rural communities and many of the congregants there are farmers, even some wearing their bib overalls. On Ash Wednesday I went there for the noon service. I was intrigued to see that the pastor kept disappearing and I didn’t know where he went, but as it turned out, he was jockeying back and forth between being the celebrant and the organist! As a poor church, it doesn’t have the resources to “print everything out” in the bulletin. The hymnal is used to follow the liturgy and there was the communion liturgy which was followed in all its integrity and not at all hurried. To me, it was the proper distinction (or congruity) of Word and Sacrament.

I wonder if nowadays there isn’t sort of a dependency on the bulletin that isn’t overblown rather than the hymnal. In this way, it gives a “freedom” to do whatever. I know that the “Word” should be heard rather than following along in the bulletin, but I make an exception for that as hearing impairment is much more prevalent than realized, not to mention that the speaker doesn’t always enunciate, and again, not to mention that some readers are drama kings or queens. But for goodness sakes, everyone is reading “The Lord’s Prayer” rather than saying it. Why does that need to be printed? Does it take 50 or 60 years of your life that you need to still read the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed? I see no heads uplifted in the proclamation of our faith. Rather I see noses buried in the bulletin.

Well, I better get off my soapbox but I’ll be curious if any of you feel these same frustrations that I have been having.

RogerMartim

42
Your Turn / The God of the Old Testament
« on: April 15, 2010, 07:15:58 PM »
I used to hang around here a lot and recently I've come back and have been enjoying "catch-up."

I peruse a site in which "recovery" from a cult is the main focus. Not that I was a member of the cult, but I have two dear friends (Lutherans) who have been "lost" to it.

Many, if not most, who leave the cult go on to become atheists or agnostics rather than joining a Christian church body. Their new world view is often rabidly anti-Christian not to mention that there is much derision to those who decide to remain believers. All the problems of the world are often applied to Christianity itself.

The biggest point of contention is the God of the Old Testament. They view him as a violent and bloody God demanding vengeance at every turn of the corner. In one sense, they are probably right in that he isn't the most compassionate guy around. On the other hand they ignore the gentle and forigiving side of God found elsewhere in the Old Testament. Of course, these same folks see the sacrifice on the cross as something nothing less than sinister.

I am at a loss at how to contribute to this forum in counteracting this distorted view of God. I know that I will  probably never will sway minds but at least I would like to know for myself how to reconcile the two divergent views of God.

I've gone through over two-thirds of the available posts here and have yet to see this addressed. I know that there are many issues in Lutheranism that need to be addressed here in this Forum, but I am wondering if anyone would care to help me out in terms of resources, book materials, etc.

 

43
Your Turn / The Mormon Church and Current Politics
« on: December 13, 2007, 01:55:01 PM »
Should a Lutheran or any other Christian who ascribes to the basic tenets that we all share be concerned about the candidacy of Mitt Romney who is a member of the Mormon faith? I have been doing lots of online research lately on this particular and unique American religion and I have not been liking what I've been reading.
Coincidental to my research, Mike Huckabee got himself in hot water yesterday when he commented that in the Mormon faith, Jesus and Satan are "brothers." He has had since then to apologize for his intemperate remark and the LDS church put out a statement that it is a mis-reading of their official belief. And in checking back again, it is indeed one of the tenets that it subscribes to: "Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163). ..."to them both" is reference to the Heavenly Father and the Heavenly Mother (an unofficial goddess) who actively engage in sexual intercourse to beget the spirit babies since we are all pre-existent.
I am not sure if Mitt Romney is aware of how different his faith is from the rest of Christendom. I think that would be the case with most Mormons who do not see themselves as unique but quite within the mainstream of Protestantism (although officially the Mormon church views everyone outside of Mormonism as apostates) and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Handel's Messiah notwithstanding.
Mitt Romney is so attuned culturally to his faith and it would be extremely difficult for him to question anything. The same is true for most Mormons and so in a way, I understand they jealously guard their faith. I feel the same way about my German Lutheran upbringing.
Although Mitt Romney separates his private faith in the public square, in a way he does have to answer ultimately (and pat responses do not work here) to the LDS church. The "Prophet" in Salt Lake City has more say than the Pope in Rome does. The two great "accommodations" (polygamy and blacks in the priesthood) have undone the original subscriptions of the founder, Joseph Smith, and which were most likely done under societal pressures.
Maybe we can hope that there are more accommodations that would bring this peculiar religion within the mainstream of Christianity but until then, I don't think that I would like to see a Mormon in the White House.

44
Forum Blogs / The New Missouri Hymnal
« on: October 03, 2006, 03:54:08 PM »
Dear Friends,

I wrote an e-mail this afternoon to a friend of mine commenting on the new Missouri Synod Hymnal. I am quite pleased with it. I thought it would be interesting to share my e-mail with you all, but I will maintain my friend's anonomynity.

Dear A.

This all crept up on me so fast and so I was pleased when my mother ordered two hymnals for herself and me to be picked up this week at her church office.

Compared to the LW, this new hymnal is light years beyond the LW. A few observations, however:

1. The page numbering system is interesting and I am not sure how that is going to wash over.

2. Perusing through the different liturgical settings, I am still not sure what Missouri's hang-up is about the use of the word Christian versus catholic in the creed. It is a given fact that "catholic" is the more integral expression to its original intention of the creed. To me, it still indicates that there is an anti-catholic sentiment being expressed here. Get over it, Missouri. It was also interesting to note their rationalization of "for us men" and "for us" as a footnote alongside the catholic versus Christian. Should the creed have footnotes at all?

3. I was so surprised that there were so many different Holy Communion settings.

4. Missouri is still inimical to any kind of "foreword" or "postscript" to the Verba, but this time, it looks that Luther's bare-boned approach was just not enough for the most sacred moment in the liturgy. Where did these words come from? Is this part of any historic liturgy or was this made up to suit the new hymnal?

5. I was happy to see that many of the hymns were restored to their original key schemes. It was always so strange to play the hymns on the piano in a key that just wasn't meant to be, including many of Bach transcriptions of those same hymns.

6. Since I am a language student extraordinaire it was good to see some aspects of the different languages were restored, not least of which was Latin or its Latin roots. What's so wrong with the word Vespers as opposed to Evening Prayer? Of course, that translates to the new tendency to describe the Liturgy in functional terms and that hardly cuts it. As my mother and I were paging through the new hymnal, I ran across "Müde bin ich..." and she got teary eyed. And my mother is not an emotional type of person. Her mother sang this to her and the other children every night when they were growing up.

7. The new calendar of commemorations surprised my  mother. She raised eyebrows at St. Patrick. Even St. Joseph on March 19 surprised her although he had been the most neglected of the saints in light. She understood when I explained to her that no one has monopoly on St. Joseph but that he was a progenitor of Christian beginnings after the resurrection.

8. Anti-catholic sentiments have always been largely at play here, but with the new hymnal, Missouri seemed to have gotten passed that, but only by bits and pieces. In personal devotions with my father when he was dying, both my parents had recaptured the significance of the "Sign of the Cross" although my father always projected rather than doing it upon himself. But as someone who was raised by a Seventh Day Adventist, one cannot expect any more than that. At least he understood the power of the cross and that is all that is important.

9. Bottom line: I am very pleased with the new hymnal. There are expressions that are typically Missouri and there is a still a long ways to go ecumenically speaking, but then we know that Missouri tends to do things a bit more hesitantly than Lutheranism in general.

10. I am anxious to get a hold of the new ELCA hymnal and of course, you will get my take on that.

Take care, and let me know your thoughts.

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