Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Deadly 7


The Seven Deadly sins aren't exactly Biblical, actually they are sometimes credited to Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, and sometimes to the political satirist Dante in the fourteenth century.

Either way, even if you're not Catholic, they have found their way into our culture- For example, each volume of C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia illustrates the danger of one of the seven deadly sins: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe = gluttony, Prince Caspian = lust (for power), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader = greed, The Silver Chair = sloth, The Horse and His Boy = pride, The Magician's Nephew = wrath, The Last Battle = envy.

My favorite cultural reference is this, that Gilligan's Island, (1963-1967) - According to the book Inside Gilligan's Island by Sherwood Schwartz (St. Martin's Press, 1994), the creator of the show confesses that he purposely patterned the 'seven stranded castaways' after the seven deadly sins. He confesses that he didn't tell anyone until years after the show was over, because he thought that people would ridicule him for attributing such a serious theme to such a silly show (this was, however, referenced in the movie Rescue From Gilligan's Island).

Mr. Howell (the millionaire) - greed
The Professor - pride
Mrs. Lovey Howell - thoughtless excess (gluttony)
Gilligan - sloth
Ginger (the movie star) - extravagance (later lust)
The Skipper - anger (wrath)
Mary Ann - envy


Here is my prayer of confession of all 7 deadly sins:
1. Pride. Lord, I know that too often I get too full of myself. I assume that I know best and that I’m the only one who does. Forgive me when I get this way, when I’m arrogant, demand to be in control or think that I’m better than others. Help me to put others before myself, just as You did on the cross.

2. Envy. Holy Lord, Why can’t I be comfortable with who you made me to be? Why do I wish I had someone else’s body or looks? Why do I wish I had their moxy, their confidence or good favor? Other’s apparent success, the way they seem less inhibited? Forgive me, help me to know who You intended me to be and what purposes You have in mind for me.

3. Gluttony. Provider God, I don’t know why I can’t stop. I eat when I’m sad, scared, frustrated, angry, bored, lonely, just when I want to, not to mention when I’m actually hungry- which of course I never am, because I never fast long enough to become hungry. I’ve tried so many times to eat less and exercise more, I’ve tried doing it for myself, for my family, and I thought for you. But this is a bigger sin than my battle with food- like any middle class American, I am spoiled and complacent. I am not a good steward of the earth, I am selfish, materialistic and self-indulgent. Forgive me and make me satisfied with depending on You.

4. Lust. Lord God, why do I get so horny? What is the line between appreciation of what’s visually pleasing, and attraction? And between attraction and indulging in the sin of lust? Why am I so demanding of my wife? Why can’t she want me as much as I want her? Is it physiology? Am I so frustrated because of a back up of testosterone? A chemical imbalance? Please help me to avoid all the temptations on the internet and to honor You and my wife and all women as people, not as objects, help me honor you with my eyes and my thoughts.

5. Anger. Dear Jesus, I’m like a little child, I throw tantrums when I don’t get my way. I stomp my feet and complain that You and Your universe are just not fair. I lose patience with my children, I hold grudges against those who I feel hurt me, slighted me or offended me. I can’t see straight or sleep well when I think that my needs aren’t being met. What is wrong with me? I enjoy resenting those in power who make reckless and foolish decisions, I relish getting riled over things that I can never control or even effect. Pour cool water on my head, Lord, and knead my shoulders and neck. Lower my blood pressure and teach me to surrender all to You, and to be still and know that You are God.

6. Covetousness. Father God, I want a new house. I want a new laptop, all new cars- including a big huge truck with lots of options. I want a big, luxurious bathroom, huge closets and a finished basement, a hot tub and maybe an indoor pool… What kind of fool am I? I don’t even need all the things that You have already provided me. I feel jealous of people with twice my income and better health insurance coverage, I can’t understand where some people get their money or why the world seems to reward some people but while I work so hard and “play by the rules,” I don’t seem to get anywhere. Forgive me, help me to be satisfied with You, to “delight in You” so that THEN You will give me the desires of my heart (which will be being with You and serving You, duh).

7. Sloth. Lord, not only am I like Paul- the good that I would do, I don’t and the evil that I wish I wouldn’t- that’s what I do—but You know what? I don’t even do what I need to just to get by, I get paralyzed by depression, lethargy, apathy, complacency. I confess that the only freedom that I really ever want is freedom from responsibility. I want to be comfortable, safe, warm, and entertained. Help me to be disciplined and selfless. Grant me a vital work ethic and a willing, servant’s heart. Make me Your instrument and use me constantly.

All these things I ask you, in Jesus name for His sake, and by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Now, its your turn. This is Lent, a time for reflection and being honest with ourselves and God. Search your heart and do a 7Deadly-inventory of your own life, and confess it to God in your own way in prayer. Then, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now, on lighter note- want to have a little fun with a non-scientific, non-spiritual, theologically incorrect quiz to tell you what your "pet sin is?" Click Here.

Remember, in his song "Bank of Bad Habits" singer/songwriter/author Jimmy Buffett sings about the Seven Deadly Sins with one addition, the "8th Deadly Sin" Pizza!

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hand Prayer


A Good Way to Pray
(...and easy to memorize!)

1. Thumb: Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."

Lord, please bless our family. Bless AJ. If it be Your will, heal him and strengthen him. If it is your will, ease his suffering and bring him home to you. Bless AM as he deals with losing his father AJ, as well as facing the possibility of having to cope with illness himself. Bless CA as he deals with losing his grandfather AJ and the health issues of his father AM, with his marriage, with the possibility of swiching careers, and especially with his disease as well. Bless NA as he deals with losing his great-grandfather AJ, and the changes with his grandfather and hero AM, and the stress his dad, CA is under. Guard, protect, comfort, heal, hold, and lead, all of the members of their families, siblings, spouses, and children, so that they might weather these storms and be assured of Your love and providence.

2. Index finger: The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

Lord, bless our pastor- Holy Spirit, direct him and work through him so that he will be Your instrument and feed and serve Your flock in the ways that they need.

3. Middle finger: The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

Dear Jesus! I am truly afraid for our country, my family and the world. It seems like our President is leading us toward WWIII. Hold him accountable, keep the dogs of war at bay. Father God, keep our troops safe and work in the hearts and minds of our leaders so that they bring them home soon and choose diplomacy over saber-rattling.

4. Ring finger: The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

Dear Jesus, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees from Iraq, from Sudan and Chad, and other torn and ravaged regions in our world. There are millions of children who's parents have to choose between bills, food, medicine, and other needs. There area indentured servants and even slaves, still today, not just in depressed or undeveloped portions of the world, but here in our own country. Open our eyes to how You can use us to help them. Please rescue them, provide for them, and protect them. Lord, Jesus wipe out horrors like Guinea worm. Somehow Father God, force America and Americans to see how we can use our vast resourses for healing and helping, rather than manipulating and influencing.

5. Pinkie finger: And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

Lord, please forgive me for being such a hypocrite, for being "the chief among sinners." Lord I believe, help my unbelief. Then empty me of myself and my sin and fill me with Your presence, so that You can use me as Your instrument, your vessel so that You can use me to reflect Your light and Your love, so that You can use me to help and support and teach, love and comfort others- instead of feeding my angers and selfishness, my depressions and fears.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen

Found at: http://www.churchsermon.org/prayer.html

StopIranWar.com

StopIranWar.com
Military force against Iran is not the solution now, and if we adopt the right strategy, perhaps it need never be. Urge him to work with our allies and use every diplomatic, political, and economic option at our disposal to deal with Iran. War is not the answer.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Prayer for intimacy

"Dear Jesus,
More than anything else,
I want to know you intimately."

~Rick Warren

In The Secret (I Want To Know You)
Words and Music by Andy Park

In the secret in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret in the quiet hour
I wait only for You
'Cause I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward pushing every
Hindrance aside
Out of my way
'Cause I want to know You more
More and more


© 1995 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing



Joy

Just because its Lent, never forget that Jesus lives, and because of His Resurrection, we don't have to fear sin, death, or the devil.

"The Joy of the Lord
is your strength."
~Nehemiah 8:10b


"Joy is the motor,
the thing that keeps
everything going...
Joy makes us strong."
~Richard J. Foster
Served as a Pastor in the Friends Church (Quakers) in Newburgh, Oregon, and the author of "Celebration of Discipline; a path to spiritual growth."

Lent

Lent 2007:

Lent is a period of fasting and penitence (self-examination and repentance) during which observers have traditionally (historically) eaten sparingly. The 40-day length of the fast was established in the 4th century. Following some of these ancient Christian practices (seasons) can indeed be of spiritual benefit.

The word Lent is a Teutonic word that meant "the spring season."

  • Protestant - Feb. 21 - April 7 (Except Sundays, which celebrate the Resurrection).

  • Catholic - Same (Except that Lent officially ends at sundown on April 5, Holy Thursday).

  • Orthodox - Great Lent: Feb.19 - Mar. 30

While some Protestant groups including Baptists and Pentecostals generally have not observed Lent, other Protestants such as Lutherans and Presbyterians have always observed it.

Faith


"Faith sees the invisible,
believes the unbelievable,
and receives the impossible."
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

See more of my cartoons at http://tmal.multiply.com/photos/album/2

So what does God want? Our money? Our freedom? Of course not. Yet, He gave His very Son, so doesn't He deserve everything we have? He desires our hearts, our souls, and our minds, He loves us so much that He wishes that we'd love Him back, with all our strength. Yet all he asks is that we love mercy, do justly, and walk humbly with him (Micah 4:8).


I'd like to give up my anger, arrogance, lust, coveting, gluttony etc. etc. But the question is, am I doing it for Him, or as a form of "self-improvement?" And let's face it, I can't go sinless, even for just 40 days. Oh, I'll see how many days I can make it without coffee, no TV during certain hours, and I'll try to eat less and less often, but let's face it. God doesn't need me to go on a diet, what He wants, is for me to want Him and to recognize that I need Him. That's what having a contrite heart means. So what should we fast from?

This "verse and voice" from Sojourners' Magazine are certainly poignent:

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

- Isaiah 58:6-7

"The helping of others, the giving of alms, and all external goods don't calm the arrogance of the heart. Humility of the mind, the pain of repentance and the breaking of the will, however, humble the proud spirit." ~Elder Joseph the Hesychast


Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

Monday, February 19, 2007

From Sojourners.net

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

- 2 Corinthians 8:7-9


A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

It could happen here | Salon.com

It could happen here | Salon.com
Can it happen here? Is it happening here already? That depends, as a recent president might have said, on what the meaning of "it" is.

To Sinclair Lewis, who sardonically titled his 1935 dystopian novel "It Can't Happen Here," "it" plainly meant an American version of the totalitarian dictatorships that had seized power in Germany and Italy. Married at the time to the pioneering reporter Dorothy Thompson, who had been expelled from Berlin by the Nazis a year earlier and quickly became one of America's most outspoken critics of fascism, Lewis was acutely aware of the domestic and foreign threats to American freedom. So often did he and Thompson discuss the crisis in Europe and the implications of Europe's fate for the Depression-wracked United States that, according to his biographer, Mark Schorer, Lewis referred to the entire topic somewhat contemptuously as "it."

If "it" denotes the police state American-style as imagined and satirized by Lewis, complete with concentration camps, martial law, and mass executions of strikers and other dissidents, then "it" hasn't happened here and isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

For contemporary Americans, however, "it" could signify our own more gradual and insidious turn toward authoritarian rule. That is why Lewis's darkly funny but grim fable of an authoritarian coup achieved through a democratic election still resonates today -- along with all the eerie parallels between what he imagined then and what we live with now.

For the first time since the resignation of Richard M. Nixon more than three decades ago, Americans have had reason to doubt the future of democracy and the rule of law in our own country. Today we live in a state of tension between the enjoyment of traditional freedoms, including the protections afforded to speech and person by the Bill of Rights, and the disturbing realization that those freedoms have been undermined and may be abrogated at any moment.

Read the whole article here

Support our troops

I am one of those people who believe that the Iraq war was wrong, but just because I oppose the President, does not mean that I don't suppor our troops. I have too many students enlisted or enlisting to not care about them. Now, I think that means giving them the safety equipment they need when they go over, having an actual plan, and providing them and their families with health care and benefits including mental health care when they they come home. With that in mind, the greatest way we can support them is with our prayers, so here is one of those email forwards that I recently received:

Prayer Request

Visiting with my former comrades, I understand that life in Iraq and Afghanistan is very difficult to bear right now with the rise of insurgency . Our troops need our prayers for strength, endurance and safety.

Copy & paste this into an email and send this on after a short prayer;

"Lord,
hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.
Amen."


When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.
There's nothing attached; just send this to all in your address book. Do not let it stop with you, please - of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best!!!

Thank you.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Definitions

Check out why smart people are proud to call themselves Liberal!

Don't believe it?! It's True!! Click HERE to see the TRUE, Thesaurus definition of "Liberal"!!!

Barack Obama's Christian Faith


...I was not raised in a particularly religious household. My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just two, was Muslim but as an adult became an atheist. My mother, whose parents were nonpracticing Baptists and Methodists, grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, I did too.

It wasn't until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma.

The Christians whom I worked with recognized themselves in me; they saw that I knew their book and shared their values and sang their songs. But they sensed a part of me that remained removed, detached, an observer in their midst. In time, I too came to realize that something was missing -- that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart and alone.

If not for the particular attributes of the historically black church, I may have accepted this fate. But as the months passed in Chicago, I found myself drawn to the church.

For one thing, I believed and still believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change, a power made real by some of the leaders here today. Because of its past, the black church understands in an intimate way the Biblical call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and to challenge powers and principalities. And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; it is an active, palpable agent in the world. It is a source of hope.

And perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship, the grounding of faith in struggle, that the church offered me a second insight: that faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts. You need to come to church precisely because you are of this world, not apart from it; you need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away -- because you are human and need an ally in your difficult journey.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.

The path I traveled has been shared by millions upon millions of Americans -- evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike; some since birth, others at a turning point in their lives. It is not something they set apart from the rest of their beliefs and values. In fact, it is often what drives them.

This is why, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at -- to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own -- we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse...

Read entire speech given to Call to Renewal Conference.

CrossLeft

CrossLeft is a strategy clearing-house and central hub for grassroots activism among progressive Christians. We bring in news from other progressive Christian sites, and all of our efforts are geared towards coordinating action, educating the country, and providing a strategy for long-term change.

Christian Alliance for Progress

Movement to reclaim Christianity and transform American politics

About the Alliance

The success of the Religious Right in appropriating the language of Christianity has led many people to become generally wary of religion in the public sphere and of Christianity in particular. The Religious Right has used the language of Christianity to promote an extreme and divisive political agenda that has helped polarize our nation. But foundational Christian values like compassion, justice and peace are largely absent from our political discussion. And there are millions of Christian Americans who share progressive views, or, at a minimum, are increasingly turned off by the extreme rhetoric and political agenda of the Religious Right.

The Christian Alliance for Progress is a national movement that started in Jacksonville, Florida among ordinary Americans who want to reclaim Christianity and change this current political picture. Members in the movement want to restore core values of Christianity while honoring diverse views about religion and Christian life. Many Americans, especially people of faith, are ready to hear from Christians who are tolerant, and who understand the many ways that our faiths impact our views of public life. The Christian Alliance advances a renewed, progressive vision of Gospel values and seeks to help Americans express this moral vision in our lives and in our politics.

We believe we have an obligation to speak out about politics from our deep beliefs; but we do so in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr, we speak to the government as conscience. We do not seek to be the master of the government. We affirm a well-established American commitment to a clear separation of church and state.

Progressive Christians Uniting

Progressive Christians Uniting
is committed to equipping individuals and congregations for the work of transforming society through the radically inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ.

How We Do Our Work In strengthening and empowering liberal, progressive, and radical Christians to live out a faithful commitment to the gospel of active love, we work to:

  • develop networks of connections between progressive Christian congregations and individuals throughout the Los Angeles region, through our website, newsletters, events, Common Ground groups, and local chapters
  • provide our members with regular information on current justice struggles including labor rights, criminal justice and drug policy, affordable housing, immigration, moral economic choices, GLBT rights, and the environment
  • create educational materials and study guides for churches in justice issues
  • organize public events to educate our membership about particular issues
  • support action committees and taskforces among members
  • engage in theological activism, through our Reflection Committee, books, and position papers, providing Christians with a scriptural and theological base for their commitment to moral and political action
  • empower legislative activism by connecting our members with lobbying efforts in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
  • support and inform our members about opportunities for non-traditional activism, ranging from non-violent civil disobedience to countercultural personal disciplines in consumer practices

Want to join our mailing lists or subscribe to our email alerts? Ask a question about our programs? Suggest a partnership? We want to hear from you!

Progressive Christians Uniting
1501 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 989-1630
Fax: (213) 989-1635
Email: pcu@pcu-la.org

RELEVANT MAGAZINE

Relevant


WHO WE ARE:
We get a lot of emails asking who we are, so here it is: We're twentysomething Christians. We want to break stereotypes, challenge status-quo and enact change through the media. We're seeking God, living life and striving to impact the world around us. It's pretty simple, really. Oh yeah, and we're a self-contained, for-profit business not affiliated with any other companies, denominations or organizations.


OUR PURPOSE:
Relevant Media Group is a multimedia company whose purpose is to impact culture and show that a relationship with God is relevant and essential to a fulfilled life.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com




Luther’s coffee cup prayer


Behold, Lord

An empty vessel that needs to be filled.

My Lord, fill it

I am weak in the faith; Strengthen me.

I am cold in love; Warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor…

O Lord, help me.

Strengthen my faith and trust in you…

With me, there is an abundance of sin; in You is the fullness of righteousness.

Therefore I will remain with You,

Whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.

Where are you God?

“Find rest, o my soul, in God alone;

my hope comes from Him.” ~Psalm 62:5

Where are you God?

Why can’t I find any rest.

You say “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” When? When? When I die? After Judgment Day? Is it just a word trick?

Do you mean that so long as You are the only thing we desire,

then You’ll happily make Yourself available to us?

Why is it sin for me to be selfish and want attention and affection or to feel like I have some sense of worth or control or efficacy-

but its okay for you, because we’re all supposed to worship You?

Forgive me.

I know this is blasphemy, the very same sin that Lucifer indulged in, angry and jealous of You.

Forgive me.

This anger and depression consumes me and grips me and won’t ever let me go.

Don’t you care? I ask You to “lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil,” but I keep succumbing to temptation and evil seeps into every sinew of my soul.

I’m sick of it. I know that I can’t escape- that I can’t fight it by myself.

Don’t you care? I’m not asking to be rich. I’m not even asking for any of the foolish or selfish things that I usually do. I’m just asking for deliverance from this morass.

Get me out, get me out. PLEASE get me out!

Too Damn Religious

Don't get me wrong, I love Jesus, I seek to know Him more and to follow Him. And I know that He wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him. But this is intriguing, especially since one of the goals of this blog is to expose the hypocrisy of the religious-right, and the there are so many people who would really like to see America under a "Christian Theocracy," which would be neither Christian or democratic. So this is interesting:

Is America Too Damn Religious?

by

NPR.org, February 16, 2007 · As if it weren't provocative enough to hold a debate on religion in America, panelists in a recent debate were tasked with answering the following: "Is America Too Damn Religious?"

The event was part of a series of Oxford-style debates called Intelligence Squared U.S. Produced in New York City by WNYC, it is based on the Intelligence Squared program that began in London in 2002. Three experts argue in favor of the motion; three others argue against it.

See the whole Article

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Right-wingers seem to forget Most of Matt 5 &6

You can buy stickers and shirts with this image on it at www.Left-Turn.com

Shining Face Prayer

"Let the light of Your face
shine on us, o Lord.
You have filled my heart
with greater joy
than when the grain
and new wine abound.
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for You alone, o Lord,
make me dwell in safety."

~Psalm 4:6b-8

For those of you land lubbers who're new aboard this blog, I use blue fonts to indicate taht this here's a prayer you could pray yerself if'n yer inclined.

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

("Me Ka Pule" means "with prayers," in Hawaiian in case anybody was wonderin')
Arrrgh



Dissent is not disloyalty

"Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn one who is righteous and mighty, who says to a king, "You scoundrel!" and to princes, "You wicked men!"; who shows no partiality to nobles, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of [God's] hands?"
~
Job 34:17-19

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
~Edward R. Murrow

But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
~Declaration of Independence

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
~Thomas Jefferson in an interview with Thomas Paine

Prayer to be used

"Lord,
Let me make a difference for you
that is utterly disproportionate
to who I am."

~John Pieper

Newsletter - Recycle The Gospel

Orphan Grain Train, Iowa West Division

What an amazing God we have!

Miracles are happening each day that bring us to our knees in praise!

We have been receiving used bibles and funds to buy new bibles from all across the US and are very near the goal of 5000 bibles to be sent to India. An order for 1800 bibles has just been made through International Bible Society at a cost of $3742.20 and we have that amazing amount in the "Recycling" fund thanks to all your generous donations!!! The bibles ordered are paperback NIV complete bibles at a cost of $1.89 each. They have fair size print with 2 columns per page, covers are very colorful and seem a bit stronger than some. I think you donors would be happy with them and proud to hand them out personally if given the chance.


On Saturday, February 24th the used bibles will be sorted, boxed, labeled and loaded into a trailer. We need lots of volunteers for help on that day. We will start work about 12:30 and end with coffee and bars when the work is finished (about 4:00?). Also we need more boxes so bring any "paper" boxes (like what reams of paper come in) that you might have. Ask your church or a business office if they have a few they can spare. They work best – have good lids, are a nice size so when loaded are not so heavy for us older people to handle! We work at St. John's Educational building at 104 Birch Street in Charter Oak.

On Tuesday, February 27 the trailer with the bibles will be taken to Orphan Grain Train's office in Ida Grove and at 9 A.M. help is needed to load the bibles and other materials into the container going to India. We are hoping that 8 or 10 fellows will be there to help load.


If there are still some bibles out there that have not been delivered to Charter Oak get them here immediately or better yet, bring them on Saturday the 24th and join in for workday. Many hands make light work!

It has been difficult to keep track of all boxes and letters from congregations and people involved in this project so this newsletter serves as an official "thank you" for donations of books and funds. As our Nigerian friend often says "Your reward will be in heaven!"


May the Lord bless each of you.

Don & Nadine Friedrichs

Charter Oak, IA 51439



_______________________________
Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:
http://tmal.multiply.com

"The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." ~Garrison Keillor

Is Bush the Antichrist?


The Christian right and the Christian left are engaged in a debate over who 'owns' Jesus—and whether Dubya is a force for good or evil.


"The Religious Right didn't grow out of a love of God and one's neighbor—it grew out of racism, pure and simple."

..."Kids growing up in Church of Law families nowadays think that the only two sins, or at least the only two really, really important ones, are having an abortion and having gay sex," Bawer told Seattle Weekly. "The notion that love, tolerance, and inclusiveness are moral values has been dropped down the memory hole."

A soldier in the U.S. Army e-mailed Seattle Weekly, "I'm just a citizen who was raised in a Christian community and is tired of having my values hijacked by a conservative movement that only applies them selectively at home and hardly at all overseas." The soldier asks to remain anonymous.

Perversion of Christian Faith?

"Bush is one of the key figures leading the church away from Jesus," says Christian author Don Miller, who wrote the nonbluenose Christian best seller Blue Like Jazz...

See Whole Story

Religion Taking A Left Turn?

Conservative Christians Watch Out: There's A Big Churchgoing Group Seeking Political Power
(CBS) At a church in Washington, hundreds of committed Christians met recently and tried to map out a strategy to get their values into the political debate.

But these are not the conservative Christian values which have been so influential lately. This is the religious left.

"Jesus called us to love our neighbor, love our enemy, care for the poor, care for the outcast, and that's really the moral core of where we think the nation ought to go," Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches told CBS News correspondent Russ Mitchell.

The National Council of Churches represents about 50 million Christians in America — the majority of them mainline Protestants.

"Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion," Edgar said.

He calls this movement the "center-left" — and it's seeking the same political muscle as the conservative Christians, a group with a strong power base in the huge Evangelical churches of the South.

But the left has its own Evangelical leaders, such as the Rev. Tony Campolo.

"We are furious that the religious right has made Jesus into a Republican. That's idolatry," Campolo said. "To recreate Jesus in your own image rather than allowing yourself to be created in Jesus' image is what's wrong with politics."

The Christian left is focusing on:
  • Fighting poverty
  • Protecting the environment
  • Ending the war in Iraq

    "Right now the war in Iraq costs us $1 billion per week," said Rev. Jim Wallis, a Christian activist. "And we can't get $5 billion over ten years for child care in this country?"

    To try to attract young voters and the attention of politicians who want their votes, leaders of the religious left are promoting issues like raising the minimum wage.

    "Nine million families are working full time," Wallis said. "Working hard full time, responsibly, and not making it."

    Three decades ago liberal religious leaders had a powerful influence on politics.

    In the 1960s and 70s they led demonstrations against civil rights abuses and the war in Vietnam. But when those battles were over, the movement seemed to lose energy, while the Christian right had become well organized and committed to having its voice and concerns heard.

    After years of sitting on the sidelines, it will take more than meetings and talking points to make the liberals into a political power again.

    "The Christian right has a ground game," said Mark Silk of Trinity College's religious studies department. "Thus far the Christian left mainly has an air game: they want to throw positions, they want to talk to the media, but do they have the networks in place on the ground to get people out to vote?"

    So, it remains to be seen whether there's any action behind the words. But there's no doubt they're on a mission.

    "I've watched a generation die. And I watched them shift from idealism to a 'me' generation that was only orientated to consumerism and it hurt, and I wondered whether we ever would come back." Campolo said. "But the pendulum is swinging."

  • See story in original context

    Jeremiah - Tell me about that fire

    Jeremiah - Tell me about that fire
    This is an awesome song that totally describes this site's key verse, Jeremiah 20:9. I was just surfing and found this Catholic blog that had some similarities to mine:

    http://happycatholic.blogspot.com

    Click on this one for the Jeramiah Fire song:
    http://www.glyphnet.com/jeremiah/JeremiahLarge.html

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Some great bumperstickers

    Click image to see larger

    Prayer for course correction:

    Prayer for course correction:

    "I know, o Lord
    that a man's life is not his own;
    it is not for man to direct his steps.
    Correct me, Lord
    but only with justice-
    not in anger."
    In Jesus' name Amen
    ~Jeremiah 10:23-24

    I don't know about y'all, but this is certainly a prayer that I need to repeat all the time.
    Me ka pule mates,

    Pirate Ted

    Bad eschatological theology, or just bad Cool Aid?

    Is Bush influenced by 'end times' theology?

    Indeed, President Bush’s past record suggests that he’s being honest when he denies interest in apocalypticism. It’s true that he talks the language of stark moral dualism when it comes to foreign affairs, and that’s one mark of apocalypticism. But it’s only one mark. His elaborate statements about his religious beliefs have always omitted most of the other key marks. Surely he’s heard plenty of people espouse this aspect of Christian theology, but he has publicly distanced himself from it quite consistently.

    Of course in all this it’s important to remember that all anyone can ever know is the pattern and implications of Bush’s public language about religion. What he “really believes” is something we can never know.

    Read the whole article at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard

    Learn more about the false doctrine of dispensationalism here




    Praise and criticism

    " If my life is fruitless,
    it doesn't matter who praises me.
    And if my life is fruitful,
    it does not matter who criticizes me."
    ~John Bunyan (1628-1888)


    Bonnie Johnny even looks like a pirate, don't he? He wrote The Pilgrim's Progress, not bad for a limey! He was a Baptist who loathed Quakers (can't we all just get along?). But you have to appreciate his sentiment here. Consider the Fruit of the Spirit so as ya don't come down with the scurvey or ricketts mates. And be good trees would ye?

    From St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in North Huntington, Pennsylvania's website:

    A Husband's Prayer

    Blessed are you, my Gracious God, who gave me my wife; she became flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood.
    I thank you for everything she stands for in my life.
    Help me to understand, Lord, that because she is different from me and because of her unique qualities, she adds so much to what I am.
    Her sensitivity and her love fulfill me harmoniously.
    I promise, Lord, to stand next to her through life and to be a loving husband.
    I thank you, Lord, for the way I am enriched by being in touch with her feelings.
    I feel fulfilled and happy, Lord, when I can count her warm presence, sharing in all the varied aspects of my life.
    She has become part of my being.
    I ask you, Lord, passionately protect our love for each other.
    May it always remain faithful and strong.

    Husband's prayer

    Lord,

    May there be no moment in her life when she regrets that she became my wife.
    To my defects, and to my failings please help me do the utmost that I can to prove myself her measure of a man;
    If I often fail please help her to forgive me.
    Let us together be strengthened in our walk with you, and beat every burden that becomes a stumbling block.
    When death beckons one of us, may not the two of us be parted long.

    In Jesus name,

    Amen

    Angels fly with us

    Here are a couple of cool pictures of the nose paint on a fighter plane in the FIRST Gulf War.

    Blackburn Buccaneer S.Mk 2B
    The first Buccaneers arrived at Muharraq (Bahrain) from RAF Lossiemouth on 26 January 1991. Eventually 12 aircraft were used to provide laser-designation for Muharraq and Dahran based Tornados. The first mission was flown on 2 February. A total of 216 sorties were eventually flown. The aircraft returned home in early March 1991.

    Sometimes we feel like we are just the opposite of these behemouth machines of war. We feel under attack and absolutely helpless. Like the world is completely against us. Like the Devil is out to get us. Like we're weak and vulnerable and everything is futile. We try to share God's love with others and are greeted with hostility. But we do not fight with conventional weapons...

    "People may refuse our love,
    or reject our message,
    but they are defensless
    against our prayers"
    ~Rick Warren


    Don't ever stop praying for others, especially people you know don't believe. And while we're at it, remember to pray for our troops that are away from home and in harm's way.

    Me ka pule mates,
    Pirate Ted

    Look at Christ


    “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed.
    If you look within, you’ll be depressed.
    But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    The Golen Rule

    Did you realize that the “Golden Rule” is from the Bible? A lot of idioms, old saying and parts of our popular culture are actually from Shakespeare or Ben Franklin, but the good old Golden Rule, “Do unto others” actually is something that Jesus Himself said:

    “Treat others as you want them to treat you.”
    ~Luke 6:31 NIV

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    christiandems.com

    christiandems.com

    This site is devoted to helping Christians and non-Christians understand the beliefs of Christian Progressives. Their front page included a terrific quote that I think applies to our leaders today:

    "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind...And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
    ~William Shakespeare

    ChristianDemocrat.us Blog

    Here is an interesting blog from someone who thinks a little like me:

    ChristianDemocrat.us Blog

    C H R I S T I A N D E M O C R A T . U S

    The Christian Left

    Christian Democrat U.S. is a blog for discussing an alignment of Christian and Democratic Party ideals

    in the United States. I am a Christian with the intent of reversing the perception by others that the GOP

    represents Christianity; of increasing acceptance between those of faith, all faiths, and those of no faith;

    and advancing a realization that we all need to work together toward common goals.

    Why I’m not a pastor


    Okay, so what’s with the website’s official Scripture, Jeremiah 20:9?

    What can I say? Its just something that’s true for me. I guess you could say that ever since I was a kid I’ve felt God’s gravity.

    For the longest time I struggled with whether or not He wanted me to become a pastor, but a funny thing happened to me on my way to the cemetery (oops, I mean seminary). Three things actually. Well yeah I have three beautiful daughters, but those aren’t the three things, well in a way I guess that they’re one of the things.

    1 Corinthians 7:32-34 makes it clear that a daddy needs to put his energies into being a husband and a daddy. One friend I sought counsel from in my struggle advised me that God calls all men to be shepherds, it happens that my most important flock is my family. This was interesting coming from him because come to find out he not only dropped out of seminary, but he left the Lutheran church to become Greek Orthodox! Guess the Missouri Synod wasn’t conservative enough for him.

    The other thing that happened to me was that I think I pulled something while I was wrestling with Him. (see if you know about the whole “Jacob wrestled with the Angel” thing you might have thought that was funny. Seriously.) Here’s how it went. I don’t know if it was a revelation or hallucination but I was home with Influenza and a raging fever when I felt like God told me “surrender.” Like most people who have experiences like that I probably misinterpreted it. I should have asked, “surrender what?” So I got a elementary level book on the Hebrew alphabet on line and passionately tired to become as pious as I could be in anticipation of the Call. Our congregation was in a financial mess and our pastor of 35 years was about to retire. A pastor of a neighboring church met with me and talked about a new alternative program for ordination of men busy with family and careers for small rural congregations. About the same time the publisher of our local newspaper, fighting a losing battle with cancer, confided in me that he’d like to sell the operation to me. I couldn’t believe that God was suddenly offering me two dreams on silver platters. My wife balked at the idea of buying the paper because of the overwhelming commitment it would mean, taking me from my family.

    Well, as it happened, neither opportunity panned out. No one at my congregation was apt to support me as a viable candidate even for Lay Minister and the interim pastor was a complete drip. He put the brakes on the contemporary worship services that our Youth Group led and it was clear that he was uncomfortable with any lay participation in the leadership of the church. Yet I was inspired by the motion picture about Luther. I read his biography and was hungry to read his own writing- other than the Book of Concord or the Small Catechism. So I got my hands on an English translation of “The Babylonian captivity of the Church.” Not only did it reveal his scathing sarcasm and criticism of the religious and political leaders of his time, AND confirm my long held belief that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is one of the least Lutheran institutions anywhere, but above all it showed me that the great reformer himself, the right reverend-doctor, Professor Martin Luther had a radically different interpretation of ministry, priesthood, and the office of pastor than I did, or than the LCMS did for that matter. He didn’t consider it the ultimate prize in God’s treasure box. Luther saw it almost as a necessary evil, a vocation that is entirely equal to and not above any other. And he RAILED on how it had become a prestigious and hierarchical caste system during the renaissance. It seems like even post-reformation it can still be kind of an “old boy’s club” in a lot of denominations. Sometimes I wonder if the “office of public ministry” is as much a human contrivance as it is a Devine ordinance.

    So we called a great new pastor, I filed my paperwork, but never took a single class. Meanwhile my publisher passed away after he and his wife sold the shop to a company that owns seven or eight other papers in Iowa and Nebraska. After getting a better feel for all of the personal politics and intrigue within a congregation during the call process and endless committee meetings I decided that a pastor is the last thing I wanted to be. Working at the newspaper the summer after the switch-over I observed a lot of hassles and struggles with the community, advertising clients, subscribers, printers, and employees. So much so that I recognized that I may not be suited for that part of the business and didn’t envy the new guy after all. I felt sad that neither dream materialized, but exasperated, I told God “I give up! I surrender! I don’t need to be a pastor after all.” I swear at that moment it felt like He wanted me to know, “well, duh, that’s what I said before.” Huh? Wait a minute, You mean, You didn’t want me to surrender my Jonah like running away from becoming a pastor? It was kind of like He was saying “Of course not, I just wanted you to surrender the whole issue to me, either way.” Well, duh. Isn’t that just the way He does things?

    Finally a third thing happed. George W. Bush. Okay, that’s a bit much to say that I didn’t become a pastor because Bush became President. But what happened and continues to happen is that most of the Christian culture in America is deluded into thinking that neoconservative Republican politics is synonymous with God’s holy and righteous will. As much as Jesus’ love, forgiveness, and example have His hooks in me, so do progressive political ideals. As long as I can remember, I have seen through the fa├žade of “law and order” of lying, cheating, power mongers like Nixon, Reagan, Bush 39 and Bush 41. Meanwhile I’ve admired and been humbled by the idealism, pragmatism, altruism and sacrifice of such thinkers and leaders as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin and Elenor Roosevelt, Henry Wallace, Adali Stevenson, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jimmy Carter- not to mention writers who stood up for the little guy like Mike Royko, Art Buchwald, and Molly Ivins, and cartoonists like Jules Fieffer and Gary Trudea.

    Not only am I convinced that while these folks may not always have been right, they’re more right than anyone on the right-wing, especially caustic bullies like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Rielly. So, I am in a sticky place. My denomination is a mighty conservative one. But more than that, for the last decade or more, I have felt like I was unwelcomed in the body of Christ. As if Christians and American Evangelical Christian culture does not welcome people who are genuinely compassionate toward the poor, or concerned about organized labor, racial equality, or any social initiatives. It’s as if big business conspired with the tele-evangelists to use wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage to separate Christians from their good senses and from the rest of Jesus’ teachings and models for living. So, I felt more and more alienated from my Lord’s community and thereby also from Him. That kind of alienation can lead to resentment.

    In college I drew a political cartoon for the student newspaper with a coat hanger in it. My point was that even Christians need to consider both sides of the abortion issue. It landed me in the President’s office. He didn’t reprimand me, he just wanted to clarify what my opinion was. Then he politely cautioned me that such opinions may not be in my best interest if I had any hope for a thriving career as a church professional.

    When I was teaching History, Journalism and Art in a Lutheran High School, one of the Religion teachers taught more about abortion and the Pro-Life agenda then about the Gospel itself. I figured, “how can you call yourself pro-life and support the death penalty, unjust wars, economic policies that produce debilitating poverty, denial of medical research and violence against homosexuals? Etc. Etc.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not a proponent of abortion. Its shameful and tragic that so many people callously consider it just another form of contraception, but life doesn’t end at the birth canal. I am not “pro-choice” by any stretch of the imagination, but like so many moderate to conservative Democrats (“Blue Dogs”) like me, I’d rather see abortion “Safe, legal and RARE.”

    I discovered that there are Christian progressives out there like author and sociologist Tony Campolo and Sojourners founder Jim Wallis. I read as much of them as I could. When students came to me feeling as frustrated or confused as I had, I directed them to the Bible and to the U.S. Constitution so that they could see for themselves what they said, rather than taking the word of some movement or interest group. I helped them focus on their personal relationship with God and their prayer lives, rather than on the opinions and pet peeves of the prevailing malcontents, legalists and moralists. One girl, a child hood victim of incest who had agonized in the anti-abortion obsessed teacher’s class later told me that she’s not sure she’d still be a Christian if it hadn’t been for my help. That disturbed and humbled me. It also emboldened me to believe that God had a niche for me and that He’s not necessarily always on the side of the winning team.

    So it just may not be reasonable for me to ever become a pastor because Titus 3: 8-10 says that they should avoid controversy and factions. Needless to say, I’m not very good at that. When someone sends me an email forward that is obviously right-wing propaganda, I’m likely to hit “reply to all” and proceed to write a scathing response, admonishing the senders to check their facts and consider the damage they’re doing to truth and God’s Kingdom. Speaking truth can piss some people off sometimes. Mind you, I realize that Jesus wants me to have tact once in a while. That’s one reason I started this Blog, so I can offend in a broad, general, public way rather than a direct personal way. Hopefully it’s much less hurtful and with God’s help, more effective too. I may blunder and be too zealous sometimes, like the Disciple Peter who had the audacity to admonish Jesus and tell Him that He shouldn’t let Himself be captured and crucified, but if when I am a fool, I am Christ’s fool. And, by the way, I try hard to apologize, acknowledge error, and alter my positions when I’m shown to be wrong. I believe in that kind of transparency. It is not only what Christ would have me do, its sound journalistic practice and being a decent and humble human being.

    The new publisher let me add a political cartoon to the humor and politics column that I already write for our weekly small town newspaper. This has rekindled the other fire in me that I had as long as I had the itch to become a pastor- that is the dream of being an editorial cartoonist or columnist. Maybe the tiny newspaper and a blog are as far as that dream will go. Maybe I’ll never be nationally syndicated, but it is still a hobby that is more than a hobby. These are the talents (and the drives) that God created in me. Its much of who and what I am. How could I deny that if I were expected to forsake them to become a pastor?

    I think it was difficult to leave teaching in a Lutheran school where I was a full-time, professional commissioned minister of the Gospel. We mentored and discipled kids. We participated in or led prayer groups and Bible studies, and preached homilies in chapel. We were part of a team in mission with the rest of the faculty and staff. That may have been one reason why the pastor issue pressed itself so hard on my heart when we moved to Iowa. I believe that the separation of church and state in public schools is a legal, legitimate, and necessary thing. I still make myself available if kids chose to approach me about their faith or with their prayer needs. I have forged deep faith bonds with some students and a couple of colleagues.

    It has been rewarding to be the volunteer Youth Leader at our church, but now the reality of 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 is setting in again. With dance classes, speech therapy, soccer practices, etc. etc. etc. having three kids and being a two-job household, it has become difficult to give being Youth Counselor the time and commitment that it needs. So, when this group of Seniors graduates, someone else will take over for me. So another venue for teaching and sharing God’s Word slips away. So I consolidated three blogs, one was focused just on prayer, one was for the youth group, and another chronicled the history of our congregation while I designed a book for its 125th anniversary- all three folded into THIS one, so that I have an outlet for writing and thinking about Jesus, prayer, the Bible, teen ministry issues, and faith in general.

    And the “heartburn” remains. God put this tracking device in me so that I keep seeking Him and He put His Word in my heart and my head and I can’t escape Him. So here I am. I haven’t left my church. Many of my friends are now “former Lutherans.” And, thank God, they haven’t excommunicated me yet. As John F. Kennedy once said, "My church doesn't speak for me, and I don't speak for them." I stay because for all its faults and internal conflicts, I truly believe that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has some of the most beautiful theology and the purest, truest doctrine and balance of Law and Gospel. Yet, in some ways, like a pirate who’s lost his privateer’s license I am sort of a man without a country. When I was asking my Faculty Advisor in college about whether or not to become a pastor, get married, and just generally what God’s will for my life was, he told me that life is like a ship. I get to man the helm and steer with the rudder. God provides the wind and decides how much and from what direction, but I’m not going anywhere unless I weigh anchor and set sail.

    Ahoy, Aloha, Me ka pule, and A hui hou,

    God’s pirate, with a burning in my bones.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Happy Arizona Stathood Day

    To see your "card" click on the link below:
    http://tedscolumn.blogspot.com/2007/02/happy-arizona-statehood-day.html

    Adios

    _______________________________
    Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:
    http://tmal.multiply.com

    "The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." ~Garrison Keillor

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Mallory's Milieu - LUTHERAN MUSIC

    Mallory's Milieu - LUTHERAN MUSIC
    Here are a couple of Garrison Keillor routines and "Lost and Found's" Lutheran answer to Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song"

    Mallory's Milieu - Not your typical "Christian" music

    Mallory's Milieu - Not your typical "Christian" music: "A lot of people get turned off when they even think about let alone listen to 'Christian' music. I know what you mean, is it too 'goody-goody,' does it seem contrived or pretentious or just too 'white?' But there are so many different kinds of music-of-faith these days in almost any genre by all kinds of different bands, I really think that there's something out there for anyone. Here are just a few tunes that I think are pretty 'edgy' and fun. FYI 'The Kingdom' is by a duo called 'Lost & Found.' They call themselves 'speed-wood,' like speed-metal, only aucustic. I love how they're willing to challenge the hypocracy of some Christians and speak out when the Church is being just another human institution instead of the hands and feel of a loving Jesus."

    Old Lutheran - The Lutheran Party

    Old Lutheran - The Lutheran Party: "The Lutheran Party
    by Eric Iverson

    Two weeks ago I was idly browsing the personals, when I saw an ad for a Lutheran Party. Now I don't normally respond to these things, but I couldn't help noticing that I not only happened to be Lutheran, but was also a great lover of parties. It seemed like the perfect match, and so I wrote the following letter:

    Dear People,
    I was heartened and a bit surprised to see your ad for the Lutheran Party, as I was not aware that such a party existed. I am currently a Democrat, but after this latest election I guess I'm willing to try just about anything. To show my devotion to your cause I have drafted the following:

    A POLITICAL PLATFORM FOR THE LUTHERAN PARTY

    In many ways a political platform for the Lutheran Party goes against our grain. What with our motto 'Anything worth changing is probably just as worth keeping the same' and all, a piece of paper with a bunch of big ideas on it just isn't the way we do things. In fact, under a Lutheran Administration, about the only thing that might change is that we might get to that fence out back that needs a coat or two of paint (that is if we can decide on a color). Nevertheless, here are a few things we as the Lutheran Party could maybe think about doing." READ MORE

    Happy Valentine's Day


    So I was reading the Song of Solomon because I wanted to send it in a love letter to my wife for Valentine's Day.

    ...bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts...

    ...A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed....

    ...I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the
    boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;

    And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that
    goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

    You want to tell me that all that is is "beautiful metaphor for Christ and His bride, the Church?" Obviously whoever thought that up isn't married and/or has never had great sex. Sorry to make any young readers uncomfortable but this one-long-erotic-poem of a book of the Bible is proof that God loves us and that He created sex.

    On the other hand... its also a good example of how sometimes we can't relate to the metaphors of the ancient contributors to Scripture. Consider this illustration from 'Wittenburg Door' magazine on what the lover would look like if one takes the Song of Songs literally:
    Of course, just because it contains passages about what many up-tight Christians (cough Baptist- cough) consider deviant and perverted forms of foreplay, and just because its word-pictures seem a bit ridiculously out dated today, it is also a beautiful metaphor for Christ's love for us too. Really. No, really it is. I know its hard to tell when I'm beinf sarcastic or ironic and when I'm not, but it really is. Really. God's weird that way, He's very multi-faceted. Really.