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Topics - Michael Slusser

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Your Turn / @realRealityTV
« on: February 17, 2017, 03:36:30 PM »
To me, it seems that the distinction between reality and RealityTV is getting less clear.

I know people who are avid watchers of RealityTV. They may realize at some level that the Undercover Boss is trailed by cameras and producers, or that runners in The Great Race (why didn't St. Paul trademark that phrase?) are preceded and followed by cameras in vehicles or otherwise arranged around them to get the best shot and the best sound, that the competitors on Survivor are always on cameras placed to get the best shots. Add in the union stewards there to keep time for the crew, and the closeby commissary for break times. To me, the thought of that kills any feeling that I am watching reality. But some of my friends bracket all that and become absorbed in the narrative, even though the actual program has been cut and edited from several times as much video as we finally get to see. It is, to coin a term, "rigged."

The only realities are (1) the salaries that all concerned get, that feed them and their families and (2) the ratings.

The real world outside barely touches the inside narrative. Out here, people actually are born and die. The tragedies are deadly serious and the joys are transformative.

How to tell the difference in Washington between reality and RealityTV? Is it all about the ratings? Or is it more serious than that? Do the participants know? Do the viewers know?


Your Turn / MIA and Martin Luther
« on: October 11, 2016, 08:34:33 AM »
October 30, 2016, to January 15, 2017, there will be an exhibition of art and artifacts illustrative of Martin Luther's life and work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The MIA is expecting crowds and admission will be by ticket only ($).

Exhibition Overview

Five hundred years ago, one man took a stand that shook Europe and changed the world. Now you can see the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation brought to life through astonishing artworks and historical objects, traveling outside Germany for the first time ever. Luther used art and the newly invented printing press to challenge Europe’s leaders and spread a revolution of religious, cultural, and societal change. This exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, gold, textiles, and works on paper—as well as Luther’s personal possessions and recent archaeological finds—that shed new light on an explosive era and the man who ignited it.


Your Turn / Woman Takes Helm in Wittenberg
« on: September 26, 2016, 12:14:21 PM »
The new Director of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg is Dr. Kristin Lange.


Your Turn / Election Campaign Involvement
« on: September 16, 2016, 10:46:02 AM »
I just received today from my Archdiocese the rules for how Catholic parishes may/may not get involved in civil election campaigns, lobbying, etc. It may be of interest to other members of this Forum.



Your Turn / Prenatal care (poll)
« on: May 13, 2016, 12:49:58 AM »
This is to allow discussion of President Harrison's Convention letter to proceed undisturbed by this topic.


Your Turn / eGiving
« on: May 03, 2016, 11:57:36 AM »
The "Pray, Tell" blog has a discussion of the use of electronic fund transfers (ETFs) especially by regular givers--even tithers--in place of donating in the collection basket at the offertory time. I guess there are even apps that enable visitors to give via their phones.

Has this development surfaced in your church? Has it been discussed by the appropriate congregational/district/synodal bodies? If so, are there pros and cons?


If you wish to see the discussion that led me to raise the question, it is at

Your Turn / For Migrants Who Died on Their Journey
« on: April 16, 2016, 11:42:37 AM »
Vatican City, 16 April 2016 – Three prayers for the victims of migrations concluded the encounter between Pope Francis, Archbishop Ieronymos and the Patriarch Bartholomew and the people of Lesbos in the port of Mytilene, in whose waters the three religious leaders cast laurel wreaths, presented by three children from the island, in memory of those who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, after observing a minute's silence.


Your Turn / Favorite Books of the Bible
« on: April 10, 2016, 03:20:50 PM »
"I absolutely love Leviticus!"

From an online review of a Minneapolis Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio named . . .  Leviticus.


Your Turn / North Heights Lutheran Saga Ending?
« on: March 08, 2016, 09:50:38 AM »
The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reports that the church is closing, but the 1000 former members worshipping at the AmericInn may retrieve some of the megachurch's original plant and mission. Meanwhile, the church's website is mostly Error404.

I hate to see a church self-destruct.


Your Turn / Naaman, Elisha, and the First Commandment
« on: February 28, 2016, 03:38:03 PM »
Getting ready for Monday morning's Mass, I let my eyes stray beyond the verses of the first reading (2 Kings 5.1-15) and was startled to read,

15He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.” 16Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it.” And despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused. 17Naaman said: “If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth,* for your servant will no longer make burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the LORD. 18But may the LORD forgive your servant this: when my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down there, as he leans upon my arm, I too must bow down in the temple of Rimmon. When I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD please forgive your servant this.” 19Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.”

I never noticed that before, or heard any commentary on it except that it apparently means what it says.


Your Turn / Gerhard Malling Cartford R.I.P.
« on: February 17, 2016, 10:54:10 PM »

Courtesy of Rita Ferrone at the Pray, Tell blog:

Gerhard Malling Cartford was born March 21, 1923, in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, to Richard and Marie (Mortenson) Cartford.

Gerhard left college in the middle of his sophomore year to serve for three years in the United States Army (1943-1946). He returned to St. Olaf after World War II, graduated magna cum laude in 1948 with a bachelor of music degree, and then attended New York’s Union Theological Seminary, earning a master of sacred music degree in 1950.

G CartfordAfter a year as a Fullbright Scholar in Norway, Gerhard worked as an organist/choirmaster in churches in Eau Claire, WI, and the Twin Cities and at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He earned a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota, then taught at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX, from 1961 to 1974. He went on to teach at Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul from 1974 to 1977.

Throughout his life, Gerhard was an advocate of liturgical renewal . His writings about worship and music were published internationally in journals and books. In 1958, he helped found the Lutheran Society for Music, Worship, and the Arts, and later served as the editor of the society’s journal, Response. From 1967 to 1978 he was a working member of the Liturgical Music Committee of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, the select group responsible for the publication of the Lutheran Book of Worship. His musical contributions to the LBW include settings of liturgical texts, psalm tones, and a hymn tune.

In 1977, Gerhard and his wife, Polly, moved to South America, where he had been invited by the American Lutheran Church in Colombia to help its people contextualize their worship and develop their own cultural resources. Gerhard also worked closely with the national liturgical commissions in Brazil and Argentina, helping to produce provisional worship books in each of the countries: Celebremos in Argentina (1984, in Spanish), and Celebraҫões Liturgicas in Brasil (1986, in Portuguese).

He organized the first Latin American Lutheran Liturgical Consultation, which took place in 1986 in Caracas, Venezuela, and in 1990 he coordinated the worship music for the Eighth Lutheran World Assembly. He also edited its worship book, Supplement 1990 to Laudamus, the LWF hymnal.

Gerhard retired from full-time work in 1990, but continued to be active in publishing music for worship. He served as the general editor for a 1998 Spanish-language book of worship, Libro de Liturgia y Cántico.

With his wife and grandaughter by his side, Gerhard passed away Monday morning, February 8, 2016 at his home in Minneapolis, at the age of 92.

Survivors include his wife, Pauline; 3 children: Jonathan and wife Patricia Stein of Escondido, California, Peter of Overland Park, Kansas, Mary and husband Eugene Stewart of Denver, Colorado;  2 grandchildren: Lucienne Stein-Cartford, Thomas Stein-Cartford and companion Laura Popwell; his sister, Astrid Blackwell of Bend, Oregon; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Olaf, and his sisters Alfa Aaland and Ragna Evenson.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on February 20, 2016, at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. Interment will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield.


Your Turn / Patriarch and Pope and Castro
« on: February 08, 2016, 11:06:07 AM »
Among the stories that no one would have predicted five years ago is the upcoming meeting of Pope Francis and Metropolitan Kirill of Moscow in, of all places, Havana. There's a good article about it in Religion News Service:

I look forward to seeing what the meeting is like.


Your Turn / Martin Shkreli
« on: February 05, 2016, 02:22:25 PM »
This young man was just summoned to a congressional hearing headed by Rep. Chaffetz (R., Utah) along with other pharmaceutical company executives to answer questions about remarkable rises in price of some drugs. See
From the latter article: 
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia, the only pharmacist in Congress, said during the hearing that he supports free market principles but was "disgusted" by drug price-hiking companies.

"What was done here was different," Carter said. "Perverse business practices were employed."

Is there such a line between "free market principles" and "perverse business practices"? How is it determined? Does the free market police it? Can it? How? Are there moral considerations that the churches should raise?


Your Turn / Forum Letter quotation from Paul Lindemann
« on: October 19, 2015, 11:07:40 AM »
When I got home from Texas last night, the October Forum Letter awaited me. The front-page quotation from Paul Lindemann included this statement:

There is no doubt that wherever the old Gospel is preached to hungering souls it is due to the Reformation.

Coincidentally, this morning the RCC celebrates the martyr-deaths of John de Brebeuf (+1649), Isaac Jogues (+1646), Rene Goupil (+1642), and five more of their companions, killed while preaching the old Gospel to hungering souls in what are now Ontario and New York state. They and their predecessor missionaries should not be forgotten.


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