Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's the Great Pumpkin, Karl Barth.

Robert L. Short in his book 'The Gospel According to Peanuts' pointed out that "Charlie Brown" may have been a cleverly devised literary device for cartoonist Charles Schultz to inject the ideas of the great twentieth century theologian "Karl (Charles) Barth (Brown)."

Since he was one of my heroes, I always secretly hoped that since he was from Minnesota, Schultz was Lutheran, but I think actually he may have belonged to the Church of Christ or something like that.

So what if Schultz wasn't a surrealist! Reformation and Halloween are the same day, so I'm allowed to take a little license. I always felt that Linus was more like Kierkegaard, but Barth's hair is kind of crazy like Linus's is in this picture. Really, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's face and head look more like Charlie Brown, but how can you satirize someone who eas martyred by the NAZI's, I mean, come on, some things are sacred.

Posting the 95 theses

No Surrealist exhibition would be complete without something by Dutch mathematician Maurits Cornelis Escher! I'd like to think God gave Brother Martin a helping hand, don't you?

510 Years Ago today...

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, German theologian and professor at Wittenberg, posted his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg and thereby ignited the Protestant Reformation.
The Ninety-five Theses were a series of propositions dealing with indulgences which Martin Luther drew up as the basis for a proposed academic disputation. They were written in reaction to abuses in the sale of a plenary indulgence by Johann Tetzel, who gave the impression that it would not only remit the guilt and penalties of even the most serious sins, but that its benefits could be applied to the dead in purgatory. Luther challenged this teaching because it led people to believe that forgiveness could be bought and to neglect true repentance.

Read them Here

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lutheran Surrealism en Español

My wife and I taught most of the 1990's at Los Angeles Lutheran Jr/Sr High School. As you might imagine, most Angelenos don't celebrate Reformation or Halloween, they fiesta on Día de los Muertos.

So, I thought I was done, but in honor of all those Latino-Lutherans out there, I thought I'd give you "Frida Kahlo's self portrait with C.F.W.Walther" (as opposed to Trotsky).

Now I don't know if the WELS and ELCA Lutherans will know who he is, but he came over to St. Louis in the 1840s and helped start the Lutheran Church Miserable-Sinners (LC-MS).

Re: Continuing the Surrealist Lutheran theme

Okay, last one. I call this, "Melanchthon descending a staircase."
You can decide for yourself if you think he's nude.

Keep being Lutheran,
Keep being Surreal!

Happy Reformation Day

Surrealist Lutheran

I would never compare Luther to the Marquis de Sade, however, his girth did lend it self to Man Ray's painting.

Continuing the Surrealist Lutheran theme

This one is based Giorgio de Chirico's "love song"
I call it "Bach song."

Happy Reformation Day Eve


I'm Ted, I'm a high school Art teacher and recovering Lutheran Youth Fellowship counselor. Concordia, Seward, class of '93.

I found your blog, Lutheran Surrealism ( intriguing. It's inspired me to Lutheran-ize some paintings in PhotoShop.
Attached you'll find "Persistence of Liturgy." Feel free to use them if you like, or ignore them if you prefer.

Keep writing and pissing people off, Kierkegaard would be proud of you!

Happy Reformation Day Eve

Okay, so if you don't get it, you need to research irony, surrealism, dada, Rene Magritte, pipes, and Octoberfest.

Pirate Prayers at:

Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:

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

I don't want to alienate any non-Lutherans...

But Tomorrow IS Reformation Day!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

'Religious Right' finally faltering

...Just three years ago, the leaders of the conservative Christian political movement could almost see the Promised Land. White evangelical Protestants looked like perhaps the most potent voting bloc in America. They turned out for President George W. Bush in record numbers, supporting him for re-election by a ratio of four to one. Republican strategists predicted that religious traditionalists would help bring about an era of dominance for their party. Spokesmen for the Christian conservative movement warned of the wrath of “values voters.” James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, was poised to play kingmaker in 2008, at least in the Republican primary. And thanks to President Bush, the Supreme Court appeared just one vote away from answering the prayers of evangelical activists by overturning Roe v. Wade.

Today the movement shows signs of coming apart beneath its leaders. It is not merely that none of the 2008 Republican front-runners come close to measuring up to President Bush in the eyes of the evangelical faithful, although it would be hard to find a cast of characters more ill fit for those shoes: a lapsed-Catholic big-city mayor; a Massachusetts Mormon; a church-skipping Hollywood character actor; and a political renegade known for crossing swords with the Rev. Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Nor is the problem simply that the Democratic presidential front-runners — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards — sound like a bunch of tent-revival Bible thumpers compared with the Republicans.

The 2008 election is just the latest stress on a system of fault lines that go much deeper. The phenomenon of theologically conservative Christians plunging into political activism on the right is, historically speaking, something of an anomaly. Most evangelicals shrugged off abortion as a Catholic issue until after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But in the wake of the ban on public-school prayer, the sexual revolution and the exodus to the suburbs that filled the new megachurches, protecting the unborn became the rallying cry of a new movement to uphold the traditional family. Now another confluence of factors is threatening to tear the movement apart. The extraordinary evangelical love affair with Bush has ended, for many, in heartbreak over the Iraq war and what they see as his meager domestic accomplishments. That disappointment, in turn, has sharpened latent divisions within the evangelical world — over the evangelical alliance with the Republican Party, among approaches to ministry and theology, and between the generations...

Read the rest of the article at; Evangelical Movement - Religion and Politics - Presidential Election of 2008 - Christians and Christianity - Voting and Voters - New York Times

We finally finished Chapter One!!!

Okay, you're right, it really shouldn't take 3 weeks to get through one chapter. But then again, there is SO MUCH good stuff in this book!

Here's what I got out of this week's passage-
"Never let them see you sweat"
or how about, "Don't Flinch!"
The bottom line is, don't be intimidated. Don't panic.
If you remain calm and can keep your cool while everyone around you is loosing yours- here's what's going to happen;

  1. You'll get through whatever you have to face
  2. The people who were trying to intimidate you are going to be intimidated BY you, without you ever having to become hostile or confrontational
  3. Other people are going to at least take your side, if not start looking to you as a leader.

Philippians 1:27-30 (New International Version)

27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

That's great stuff- especially just before Halloween, when between horror movies and superstition, we can begin to be anxious about Satan and his demons. Don't sweat it. In honor of Reformation Day (also October 31) here's a song lyric to drive home this point;

A Mighty Fortress, by Martin Luther
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

But I also found verse 29 interesting too. Paul tells us that not only is it a PRIVILEGE to even believe in Jesus (we can only come to believe with the help of the Holy Spirit) but it is- get this, a PRIVILEGE to SUFFER for Jesus. Wha??!!

Wouldn't you be honored to get to say you were there at the Diet of Worms with Luther and stood up for the truth, even in the face of being burned as a heretic? Wouldn't you have been proud to have been in a concentration camp in NAZI Germany with someone like Corrie Ten Boon or Deitrich Bonhoeffer? Wouldn't it be a privilege to have been arrested with Martin Luther King Jr.? Wouldn't you be proud to say you were part of a team that did their absolute best in some championship, even if several of the players were injured and you ached the next day? Doesn't it feel good to get a major job done especially when you're helping someone, even if it's difficult at the time?

Nothing worthwhile comes easy. No Pain, no gain. That's some of what I talked about last week when I pulled up verses like Romans 5:3-5 and 8:28. Look back at your life so far, you wouldn't be who you are if you hadn't been through what you've gone through.

And yet Paul also tells the Philippians that they're going through the same thing he'd been going through. Not only does God know that He can use whatever you have to cope with to make you stronger and more useful- but He's willing to let you see some of what it was like for Him when He suffered for us. Our suffering doesn't make us any more "justified" (it cannot save us) only what Jesus already did can do that, but it can and will serve to "sanctify" us, that is to make us more like Christ and more useful to Him.

It's hard to understand, especially if whatever you're going through is really hard. But trust me, and trust Paul, it's a beautiful thing.

And here's my prayer for you:

"May the God of peace sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."- 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Andersons to bring story, songs to Charter Oak

St. John Lutheran Church in Charter Oak will host a Christian concert by Dave and Barb Anderson on Friday, November 16 at 7 PM. St. John is located at 104 Birch Avenue.

Dave and Barb have recorded numerous albums and have led worship and music for dozens of church conferences and conventions. They were featured singers at a Billy Graham Crusade.

In 1993. they spent a week in a 3000-person community in Russia which had never before heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On their back to Alaska, their plane crashed into the Bering Sea, about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle and 22 ½ miles from Nome, Alaska. The seven team members spent nearly an hour in 36-degree water (life-expectancy is between 5 and 13 minutes). Their rescue has been called “one of the most dramatic air/sea rescues in history”. This story has been told in Guideposts, Christian Reader Magazine, The Lutheran, The Lutheran Witness, and seen on TBN, CBN’s 700 Club, Daystar, and heard three times on Focus On The Family in English and around the world in 12 other languages.

Dave and Barb share their rescue story everywhere they go. God has used this story of miracles to minister to believers and unbelievers; to people in all stages of life, particularly those who are facing “impossible” circumstances.

Their worship concerts include a mix of contemporary and traditional Christian music…hymns, gospel songs, praise & worship songs, and children’s songs. Audiences are invited to sing along (so long, Dave says, as it’s the same song). They share from their heart personal experiences and from their walk with God.

Since the mid-seventies the Anderson have performed and led worship throughout America and in a number of other countries including Russia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, New Zealand, and Australia.

Dave Anderson is founder of Lutheran Youth Encounter (now known as Youth Encounter), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Renewal House (the first Lutheran-sponsored drug rehabilitation program in the US), and Fellowship Ministries.

Anderson is also the President of Fellowship Ministries, based in Tempe, Arizona. Fellowship Ministries is a non-profit organization that has been sponsoring worship and music conferences and seminars, and sponsoring the Anderson’s concerts since 1975. Fellowship Ministries also publishes worship resources (including The Other Songbook, now 500,000 copies in print and The Best of the Best in Contemporary Praise and Worship, 180,000 copies in print), and sponsors

Dave and Barb Anderson make their home in Phoenix, Arizona. They have a stepson who is married and they have two step-grandchildren.

Local tragedy

Any time you hear about an accident involving kids it's sad. When I heard that this accident happened so close to us, I was also nervous. My wife teaches at Mapleton, but I let it go when they didn't call her in to work (she's also a guidance counselor).

So it was terrible when I came in to school and Rena told me who one of the kids was. Bradley was an insanely gifted mascot. I had really hoped that he would continue on in high school but he struggled with grades and than his family moved out of our district. I had lost touch with him, but Rena has remained close to his sister, Nichole who cheer in both middle school and Varsity.

Heaven must need mascots. Bradley will be a great one.

Please pray for Nichole and the rest of Bradley's family and the families of the other kids in this accident. Please also pray for the kids at Boyer Valley, Maple Valley, and Odeboldt-Aurthur schools who know these kids, including the girls on the cheer squad I coach at Boyer Valley.

Associated Press - October 28, 2007 7:24 PM ET

MAPLETON, Iowa (AP) - Two teenagers were killed and a third person was injured in a crash near Mapleton in western Iowa.

The Iowa State Patrol says that 19-year-old Michael Babcock of Odebolt, and 15-year-old Bradley Kline Jr., of Schleswig, were killed in the wreck on Saturday.

Twenty-1-year-old Scott Mau of Odebolt was taken by helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Hospital officials did not give any information on his condition.

A patrol report showed that a pickup truck driven by Babcock left the road at a bridge just south of Mapleton in western Iowa.

The patrol says that two people were thrown from the truck and trapped underneath. The other occupant was found inside the truck.

The accident is believed to have happened about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The truck wasn't found until 12 hours later.

The investigation was continuing.

Information from: The Des Moines Register,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More on the fires; pictures from Pepperdine

These are some photos from some of my students from this weekend… We also have several colleagues and friends that live on campus…several of them were in real danger of losing their homes…the flames literally stopped feet from their homes on campus… Don Lawrence, M.Ed. Director, Inter-cultural Affairs Pepperdine University
I don't know Dr. Lawrence personally. These were sent to me by my friend, Dr. John L. Hoffman from Irvine, he and his wife Joy work and teach in the student-services field, including multicultural affairs at other Southern California colleges.

Even though the fires are now contained, the death toll is up to 10. Please keep these victim's families, all of those displaced and of course, the firefighters in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

HSBS; Philippians

Soul Journey through Philippians

A two week daily devotional to shift your faith into high gear


Click here to download a printable PDF version of this entire bible study.

Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here for a free download.


Think Positive (like Philippians);
it's good for your health

The disparity between positive and pessimistic minds is especially prominent in areas of the brain that have been linked to depression. "The same areas that malfunction in depression are very active when people think about positive events," says Tali Sharot, a post-doctorate fellow at University College London, who conducted the research at New York University.

In the study, Sharot had subjects think about emotional events, both positive and negative, like winning an award or ending a romantic relationship. They did this for past events and those that could plausibly occur in the future, while their brains were being scanned in an MRI. Afterwards, subjects filled out a questionnaire that measured their level of optimism. What Sharot found was that when participants thought about positive future events, two regions of the brain became much more active than when they thought about negative events.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Update

Okay, maybe it was hyperbole for me to compare this year's SoCal fires to Hurricane Katrina, so far only one person has died due to the fires and only 200 homes have been lost- be that as it may, it is still dangerous and tragic, so please keep praying. (Incidentally, New Orleans recently received over 8 inches of rain in just a day or so, so many of the neighborhoods that suffered the most during Kartrina are under water again, please keep those folks in your prayers too.)

I've heard from a few of my friends in the LA area who are all okay, but they all know someone who's affected, and of course the smoke makes a place plagued with pollution and allergy problems even worse.

One of those friends shared these links with me for anyone interested:

Here is a link to Tim's weather station here in Sylmar, just in case that's interesting:

Also, here is a link to the fires currently burning. You can get an exact picture of where each fire is. I've been watching it today:,-117.443848&spn=4.827737,8.876953&z=7

I've been listening to, the NPR station in Santa Monica for updates.

Please keep Southern Californians in your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Urgent! Southern California Fires

As you might imagine, since we used to teach at Los Angeles Lutheran Jr/Sr High School, My wife and I are very concerned about our many friends, former students and former colleagues in Southern California. Can you imagine 250,000 people in 7 counties having to be evacuated? An area the size of Washington DC has been burned. From Malibu to Mexico is effected- basically an area the size of South Carolina!

The Buckweed and Stevensen Ranch/Magic Fires have us the me worried. Especially after that wild accident in the I-5 tunnel last week. Basically these fires are each on opposite sides of the Santa Clarita Valley. We used to go to Church at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Canyon Country.

Breathing, driving, and if it comes to it- evacuating are a major dangers that our friends are facing- let alone the possibility of losing life, home, and property.
I was disappointed by the coverage on CNN, so I turned to a local TV station there, KTLA, they had a terrific link to an interactive map of the fires from Google.

Please, it's not just a bunch of rich celebrities in Malibu Canyon, it's real people all over Southern California. If these fires aren't contained soon, this could become LA and San Diego's Katrina.

Please pray that the Lord would protect the residents in the fire's path and that He would guard, protect, and guide the many firefighters, both professional and volunteer and the National Guardsmen and women who help too. Pray that the 70-100 mph winds would die down and that moisture would come so that the fires could be contained and put out.

Thank you.

In His hands,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When life hands you lemons... Philippians 1:12-14, & 18b-21

So even though he's stuck in a crummy Roman prison, Paul writes-
"Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance."

But this is bad? He's stuck in jail? This is bitter as a lemon- yuck! This sucks!
Hey, his imprisonment is motivating the people in the church at Philippi to pray for him and motivating other Christians to preach about Jesus, even if at the risk of them going to jail too.
Looks like God was managing to make something good come out of something bad.

Look these verses up too, because they have important lessons about how you have to see the hard times as useful, even good for you in the long run, even if they really hurt while you're going through them.

  • James 1:12 Sometimes, if you get through a hard experience, you feel better about yourself. Sometimes the hard times even make you stronger.
  • Romans 5:3-5 Difficulties may mean suffering, but that builds character (sound like some mean old coach or something, but it's true) and character produces hope- hope means that we know that we'll get through whatever it is we're facing. Once I faced my fear of needles and donated blood, I saw that yeah it hurts a little, but it's nothing I can get through and it only lasts a little while. The more you do hard things, the easier they get. Suffering>Character>Hope, which won't let you down.
  • Romans 8:28 the grandaddy of all verses for explaining why God allows (doesn't make, just permits) bad things to happen sometimes. God can make ALL things work out for the best, no matter how bad. Would FDR been the President he'd been if he hadn't sufferd from polio? Hellen Keller touched millions with her heroic example of overcoming being both blind and deaf.
God can help you make lemonade out of whatever lemons life has handed you too- even if they're there because you made some bad choices or were selfish or sinful and brought the lemons on yourself. God can use your bad experiences and hard times to make you kinder, gentler, more patient, more loving, to give you more self control, more at peace, even to fill your life with more joy.

I know I appreciate being a lowly teacher more because of all the dishes, floors, and toilets I've scrubbed. No matter what you're going through, or how much it sucks (like raw lemons) a little time, some water, some sugar, stir it all up, and presto, refreshment that's delicious and nutritious!

Here's my prayer for all of you, I guess you can pray it too:

Dear Jesus,
I know that it is almost impossible to see the good in some things that we have to go through,
But please help whoever is reading this to see that You can and will use this pain to bless them in the long run.
Meanwhile, help them to know how to find the good in any situation and in any person. Some people are so mean, or so irritating, annoying, or obnoxious. Help us all to be able to see other people through Your eyes, as Your precious children, whom You have big plans for.
Help us to remember that You have big hopes and plans for us too.
Grant us hope, even in the most miserable conditions, help us to keep our eyes and minds focused on You and the lemonade You're getting ready especially when life is so bitter, sour and tart that it downright hurts.
In Jesus name,

Me ka pule,

Questionable motives; Philippians 1:15-18

Does it matter WHY? As long as something good happens?
Paul reminds me of two 20th century heroes of the faith. Deitrich Bonhoffer and Martin Luther King Jr. Both were imprisoned for their beliefs. Bonhoffer was a Lutheran minister in NAZI Germany who helped the underground resistance. Her stood up to tyranny, hypocrisy and just plain evil and eventually lost his life for it. King was arrested and put in prison several times, not for stealing, or killing, or dealing drugs, but for speaking and marching and sitting. For insisting that the Constitution insured equal rights for everyone.

When they showed the courage to suffer the way they did, it encouraged others to step up and do what was right too. You might say, "well, if they really believed what they say- they shouldn't have waited until some leader did it first, they should've been doing it all along." Well, maybe, but so what? At least they started doing the right thing once they saw these heroes do it.

The people in Philippi were worried about Paul. Was the prison cold? Did he get enough to eat? were there rats? Would he get sick? Were they planning on executing him?

But even in the worst of times, Paul tried to make sure that the Philippians saw the bright side.
"Hey," he said in verses 12-14, "you know what? My being in here has been a good thing. All the guards are learning about Jesus and because I had the guts to go to jail- other Christians have been less afraid to share their faith."

There are lots of preachers out there who had messed up motives. Some wanted to kind of take Paul's place as the main missionary. Some wanted fame or prominence, maybe they were competing wither with Paul or with each other- who was the greatest? Some of them had totally false motives, and they were really only in it for the money or the high that comes from being influential.

Are there still preachers like that today? Sure. I look at a tele-evangelist with a huge mega-church that meets in a football stadium and wears thousand dollar suits and wonder. I hear Christian radio psychologists who preside over political summits and bemoan that they're aren't any candidates out there who are pro-family enough or anti-this-or anti-that enough and I wonder.

Do people do humanitarian work or donate food, money, clothing, time, and blood just because it's the right thing to do? Or do they do it because they're think they have to to get into Heaven, or because it will look good on college applications or their resume'?

Sure. But hey people are being clothed and fed and taught and cared for- so why does it matter if it's for wrong motives? People are learning about Jesus and led to the Bible, so what if the preacher drives a Rolls Royce and likes to watch himself on TV?

Let good things happen. Sometimes teachers and coaches have to find ways to motivate their students and athletes. So what if they hate me as their coach? As long as they're united as teammates, let it be against me.

Fruitcakes; Philippians 1:9-21

You know why English people are sometimes called "Limeys?" Pirates know. It's because British sailors could suffer from scurvy when spent too much time sailing the seven seas, mates. "Scurvy" is a pirate term for ricketts, a vitamin deficiency. When all you drink id grog (watered down rum) and all you eat is jerky and salt tack, you begin to get weak. So, the British Navy, sought a solution. In the days before canned goods and refrigerators, they couldn't offer their sailors a balanced diet, but they could store shiploads of limes in their holds. Lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C- the natural enemy of scurvy.

One reason I wanted to study Philippians is because so many teens have so much stress or fight depression. Philippians is the "cheerleader" book of the Bible. Paul exhorts and encourages us to hang tough and hang onto the Joy that God can give, even in the hardest times. If you have good nutrition, and enough vitamins, your body can fight off infection. If you have Spiritual fruit in your life you can make it through the tough times.

How's your fruit supply?
In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul prays for that "your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight," Why? Why does he want us to learn and grow?
"so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Those are good reasons.
What are the "fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus?" Check out Galatians 5:22-23

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness and
  • self-control
When you think about it, aren't just about each and every one of those things that we'd all like to have? Aren't almost all of them the opposites of discouragement, stress, anxiety, depression, negativity, anger, frustration, sadness, and loneliness?
Yep. Exactly my point.

So how do you get these fruit? Well, lets see... how about if your love were to "abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight?" Learning and Living, living and learning. The way to stock up on the Fruit of the Spirit, is living God's Word, and reading and learning about God's Word- just like you're doing right now.
Three ways to gather fruit for life's voyage:
  1. Read the Bible
  2. Pray and straight out ask for it- "God, please give me the fruit of the Spirit." and
  3. Give the fruit away, use it up. The more you use, the more you'll have! Try it, it's amazing.
If you practice love, people will love you for it. If you're joyful, people will want to be with you and it feeds on itself, upbeat, positive people make others upbeat and positive.
If you sow peace, you'll reap peace. If you're patient, others will be patient with you. If you're kind to others, you defuse their anger and guess what- "what goes around comes around."
Goodness?? Why should I be good all the time? Ever hear that "Virtue is it's own reward?" In the song "Santa Claus is coming to town," the lyrics don't say, be good so you can get lots of toys, they say "be good for goodness sake." And believe me, you have no idea how much hurt you save yourself and others when you have self-control.

So how's your fruit supply?

Dear Jesus,
Draw me closer to You
and deeper into Your Word.
Make my love abound more and more.
Help me grow in knowledge of You, Your will for me and Your Word
Help me grow in understanding, don't just let me have all the right answers, but help me to live out what You teach me.
Grant me greater love, more joy
total peace and endless patience,
remind me to be kind, help me want to be good not to get anything out of it, but just for the sake of being good,
show me how to be gentle and grant me self-control.
In Jesus name,

Now, don't be such a scurvy dog, ye land luver! Argh!

Religious Right continues to be wrong

Monday, October 15, 2007

Reformation Art

I really likes how the glaze turned out on the interior of this pot. It looks like a heart. I think what happened is that the bottle's directions recommended two different temperatures for firing it in the kiln, and I opted for the higher of the two, and unfortunately that lead to most of the glaze turning out black, except where it pooled. Fortunately, that looks really pretty, so what the heck!

It struck me that it looks a lot like Luther's coat of arms (see right), maybe that's because it's October, so Reformation is coming up. It also looks like a heart radiating fire, kind of fitting with this blog's theme. And it sort of reminds me of the "Sacred Heart" icon, or maybe like the House of Blues logo.

Explanation of Luther's Seal:

A Black cross remind me that faith in the Crucified saves us. He died so that I can live.

Red Heart that cross does not kill, but keeps alive. My heart belongs to Jesus.

White Rose to show that faith causes joy, consolation and peace.

Sky Blue, as Luther said, "such joy of faith in the spirit is but an earnest yearning and beginning of heavenly joy to come, as anticipated and held by hope"

Gold Ring to signify that such bliss in heaven is endless, and more precious than all temporal joys and material treasures.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

An encouraging letter

My high school Bible Study group at church is studying Philippians on Sundays. I LOVE what it's about. Some people have called it the "cheerleader's book of the Bible." It can really help you to be positive. I'd really like to share what I learn about it with each of you. Please visit this website once a week.

Me ka pule,

The Lord's Prayer in Hawiian

Eia Ka Pule Alaka‘i A Ka Haku ma ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i.
E ko mākou Makua i loko o ka lani
E ho‘āno ‘ia Kou inoa
E hiki mai Kou aupuni
E mālama ‘ia Kou makemake ma ka honua nei
E like me ia i mālama ‘ia ma ka lani lā
E hā‘awi mai iā mākou i kēia lā
I ‘ai na mākou no nēia lā
E kala mai ho‘i iā mākou i kā mākou lawehala ‘ana
Me mākou e kala nei i ka po‘e i lawehala i kā mākou
Mai ho‘oku‘u ‘oe iā mākou i ka ho‘owalewale ‘ia mai
E ho‘opakele nō na‘e iā mākou i ka ‘ino
No ka mea, Nou ke aupuni,
A me ka mana, a me ka ho‘onani ‘ia, a mau loa aku
‘Āmene. Ho‘ā‘o au e ha‘i Ka Pule Alaka‘i A Ka Haku ma ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i i nā lā a pau. Aia ka waihona kani o kēia pule ma ‘ane‘i.

I found this translation from some guy in Japan's blog. As a pirate, a 'parrot head,' and a Jesus Freak, I couldn't pass it up. Pretty picture too, huh? I did a Google image search for "Hawaiian Jesus," and that was the best thing to show up.

Philippians 1:1-11

So here is a devotion/bible study based on Philippians 1:1-11

Like Paul, I thank my God every time I remember you. (friends, family and students) (Phil 1:3). That, by the way is both a good verse to include in cards and notes to people you appreciate AND a good reminder to take a minute to actually do it, to thank God for people you're glad He put in your life.

  • Who are some people you care about deeply?
  • Who are some role models, mentors, people who have helped you or taught you or set an example for you?
  • Who are some people who are important or valuable to our school, community, state, nation, world?

Say a prayer thanking God for these people.

Like Paul, In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. (Phil 1:4) No matter who you are, I'm glad you're reading this. There are some of you whom I am glad to have had the chance to know and have be a part of my life.

Why did Paul have Joy? Why not anxiety, worry, anger or frustration or disapointment or any other number of emotions? because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, (Phil 1:5) They were on the same side, the same team, they shared goals, they were on the same mission. A real friend is not just a peer or an acquaintance, they support you and stand by you, they help you. They're partners. Believe it or not, God doesn't just want you to know Him, accept Him, believe Him, He wants you to work with Him, to do what He's doing, to do what He created you to do and be who He created you to be. Partner-up. God's on your side.

Paul blesses the members of the church in Philippi. A Biblical blessing includes a statement of value (he thanked God for them) and a vision for a bright future, like this one- being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6) What he was saying is kind of like, okay, we know Jesus saved you by dying on the cross, but He's not done- I believe He will keep using you for His purpose and while and maybe even through doing so, He will SANCTIFY you, that is to keep making you holy and making you more and more like Him. How awesome is that!

Think about a teacher telling you that they think you're becoming a great writer or artist, or that you'd make a great doctor/lawyer/teacher someday. Imagine a junior high or freshman/JV coach telling you that you're going to make a great starter or captain or college player someday. That's kind of what Paul is doing, he's really encouraging them. When I taught at a Christian school, Phil 1:6 was a popular verse to write in kids cards at confirmation and both junir high and high school graduations.

Why was Paul so positive? He wasn't just giving them a snow-job, or "blowing sunshine up their skirts," it wasn't an empty complement. He backed it up in verse 7- It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. They really were partners, working hard for the same goals that he was.

And before he REALLY gets this letter going, he tells them how much he feels about them in verse 8, God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. Or in the "TPV" (Ted's Paraphrased Version) "God knows how much I miss you and love you."

Me too. I really care about my students and cheerleaders, and I really miss all of you former students and cheerleaders.

Then he prays for the Philippians. Usually on this blog I make prayers blue, as a hint that you can pray it too, but I'll leave it purple like the rest of the passage has been- but I want you all to know, that I'm praying this for you as I type the words that Paul prayed for the members of his old congregation; I pray that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (NIV)

Again, I pray for you that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.(Message)
In Jesus' name, Amen (Hebrew for "let it be so")

Me ka pule,

A letter of encouragment

Hey there sports fans, who luvs ya?!
This week we started studying Paul's letter to the church in Philippi with Philippians 1:1-11

It's important to remember that this isn't a book, it's a letter- and letters are PERSONAL. If you write a book, you hope that people will read it, maybe that you'll get a message out, maybe that you'll make some money. When you write a letter, its to someone specific that you want to say something specific to. Often it's to someone you care about and you have something you feel is important to share with them.

I hope you'll think of these blog posts like letters. There are specific people I wish I could write to about Philippians. All of my past, present, and future cheerleaders. Philippians is the letter in the Bible where Paul is trying to cheer people on, to encourage them to stay on course and to keep there spirits up. That's what cheerleading is all about too.

To the kids and friends I know who either have or are struggling with depression. I often have to fight it myself, but those of you who have cut or cried or needed to be put on medication or ever considered suicide. Philippians is a letter that has advice and exercises in it for hanging on and pulling through.

For everyone who faces stress and discouragement, whether you've had setbacks in school or relationships or you're going through hard times in your family or some goal or dream you've been chasing. Philippians helps you keep your focus and not let things grind you down and get you stuck in the muck.

I'd like to help Rena and Christian and Sam be more positive.
I'd like to give Megan some hope.
I'd like to encourage Bethany, Christine and Sasha and Kensie in their faiths, help them grow and learn how to serve and love doing it.
I'd really like to get to know Amy, Brandon, and Kysa better and help them to take God's Word from their heads and put it in their hearts.
I'd like to write Amanda, Heather, Victoria, Xela, Christina, Mike, Leon, Alvin, Kristen, Jamie, and Nyasha and lots of others (sorry if I left anybody out) the way I did when they were back at LHS...

Paul wanted to encourage the Philippians to remain strong in their faith, while Christianity began coming under pressure from the Roman empire and had to compete with appealing new philosophies like Stoicism (grin and bear it), Epicureanism (eat, drink, and be merry) and Gnosticism (Jesus wasn't really God, God is in all of us and all of us can become godlike).

Paul started the way many Pastors start their sermons (wonder where they got it?) verse 1:2
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

And that's my wish for all of you too.

Me ka pule, (with prayers)

Genießen Sie irgendein Kirschuppe!

"Kirschsuppe" (cherry soup with dumplings) warms the soul. It's a Pomeranian (Low German) specialty that has been tradition at St. Luke's Fall Soup Supper forever!

St. Luke's Soup Supper is Sunday, October 21st in Ricketts.
They will be serving from 5-7 PM
Menu: Chili, Vegetable Soup, and Kirschsuppe! As well as sandwiches, desserts & beverages.
$5 for adults
$3 for Children over 4

Saturday, October 13, 2007

See "Prophet, Priest and Pirate"
on your Google homepage

Tired of Trite? Feel 'left behind' by the religious right? Check out the prayers, Bible studies, quotes, devotions, debate, and occasional inflammatory commentary at 'Prophet, Priest and Pirate.' A Faith blog that leans a little more to port than to starboard politically, but tries to keep an even keel theologically, anchored on God's Word of course. But the Word is a sword ye know, arrrgh. Why not add the new 'Pirate Prayers' Google Gadget to your iGoogle page today?

See "Ted's Column & Cartoons"
on your Google homepage

Want to make sure you don't miss any sex, politics, or religion- not to mention home-grown editorial cartoons every week? You could subscribe to the Mapleton PRESS, or you can add the new 'Ted's Column & Cartoons' Google Gadget to your iGoogle page.

Bob Lenz live

Bob lenz has been a speaker at national Lutheran Youth gatherings, through his 'Life! promotions' he offers lots of great devotions and other stuff for teens seeking Christ.
God's really used him to bless thousands of kids. Plus he's funny as Hell, no joke.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hoist the 'Jolly-Jolly'

Unemployed Graduate

An unemployed graduate woke up one morning and checked his pocket. All he had left was $10. He decided to use it to buy food and then wait for death as he was too proud to go begging. He was frustrated as he could find no job, and nobody was ready to help him.He bought food and as he sat down to eat, an old man and two little children came along and asked him to help them with food as they had not eaten for almost a week. He looked at them. They were so lean that he could see their bones coming out. Their eyes had gone into the socket. With the last bit of compassion he had, he gave them the food. The old man and children prayed that God would bless and prosper him and then gave him a very old coin.

The young graduate said to them "you need the prayer more than I do".
With no money, no job, no food, the young graduate went under the bridge to rest and wait for death. As he was about to sleep, he saw an old newspaper on the ground. He picked it up, and suddenly he saw an advertisement for people with old coins to come to a certain address.He decided to go there with the old coin the old man gave him. On getting to the place, he gave the proprietor the coin. The proprietor screamed, brought out a big book and showed the young graduate a photograph. This same old coin was worth 3 million

The young graduate was overjoyed as the proprietor gave him a bank draft for 3 million dollars within an hour. He collected the Bank Draft and went in search of the old man and little children. By the
time he got to where he left them eating, they had gone. He asked the
owner of the canteen if he knew them. He said no but they left a note for you. He quickly opened the note thinking it would lead him to find them. This is what the note said: "You gave us your all and we have rewarded you back with the coin" Signed God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. 1 Kings 17:10-16; Matthew 11:28-30

Have you given all to Jesus Christ? If you haven't, do so today and he will surprise you.


Heavenly Father, most Gracious and Loving God, I pray to you that you abundantly bless my family and me. I know that you recognize that a family is more than just a mother, father, sister, brother, husband and wife, but all Who believe and trust in you. Father, I send up a prayer request for financial blessing for not only the person who sent this to me, but for Me and for all that I have forwarded this message on to. And that the power of joined prayer by those who believe and trust in you is more powerful than anything. I thank you in advance for your blessings. Father God, deliver the person reading this right now and those who will read it in the near future from debt and debt burdens. Release your Godly wisdom that I may be a good steward over all that You have given me Father, for I know how wonderful and mighty You are and how if we just obey You and walk in Your word and have the faith of a Mustard seed that You will pour out blessings. I thank You now Lord for the recent blessings I have received and for the blessings yet to come because I know You are not done with me yet. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Check out 'Wild Art'

I just overhauled my art blog. When you visit it you can see;
My cartoons 2. My photographs & digital images 3. My paintings, drawings, and prints 4. Artworks or photos by some of my students 5. Some of my favorite paintings by famous artists and why I like them. And recently added... 6. Advice and links for elementary teachers who didn't major in Art, but want to teach it to their students. Please, click on the archives to look at more art.

Every week there's something new. This week, there's also a slick new look!

Happy October

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mallory's Milieu

Interested in more than just the weekly column and occasional political rants?
You can see all of my cartoons (just MY cartoons) as well as all kinds of my artwork and photography. Not to mention book reviews, recommended links, and even some music and videos. All of it is at

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Matthew 5: 17-48

We finished our study of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) by going through Matthew 5: 17-48

A lot of people accuse Jesus of trying to wipe out all of the Old Testament Jewish Laws, but He makes it clear in verses 17-20 that He didn't come to get rid of any of it. As Christians, we know that what He did was to fulfill it perfectly, something that we never could no matter how hard we tried. We can't ever be perfect enough, THAT's why we need Jesus.

Jesus uses some sarcastic hyperbole to drive this point home. In verses 21-26 he lets us know that anger, hate, and even name calling are just as bad as actual killing. (hyperbole? Look it up yourself at, basically He was being a smart-Aleck).

Compare Matt 5:24 with being a Peacemaker that Jesus talked about in Matt 5:9 and the reconciliation that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.

In the same style of sarcasm, Jesus lets us know that lust is no less a sin than full fledged adultery in verses 27-30 and that we can't just weasel out of a marriage because we're bored of it in verses 31-32 (don't wig out, He's not saying that if one spouse is cheating, or abusing the other or a total crack-head that you shouldn't get divorced) He was trying to make a point to people who thought they were better than everybody else that none of us are perfect.

In verses 33-37 He tells us to just be sincere, honest and have integrity, rather than trying to make our promises sound more serious by swearing on our mother's grave, saying "I swear to God" or "cross my heart and hope to die." We'll have a lot more credibility if we just keep our word.

As a political lefty, the rest of Matthew 5 is one of my favorite parts of the Bible. What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD?) I'll tell ya what He'd do, Matthew 5:38-42!-

Some people like to defend war, the death penalty and getting even with people by saying that "the Bible says 'An eye for an eye'," but Jesus says "I tell you, Do not resist an evil person."
Sounds a little revolutionary. Some people say it sounds weak- but Jesus is anything but weak, like the County song says, He's "tougher than nails." If it's good enough for Jesus, why isn't it good enough for us? Martin Luther King Jr used it to eliminate segregation.

Verses 38-42 is where we get the following idioms, There's from Jesus, not Ben Franklin or Bill Shakespeare-

  • Turn the other cheek
  • Give 'em the coat off your back
  • Go the extra mile
  • Don't turn anyone away
What a different world it would be if we'd all actually practice what Jesus preached!

Then there's the REALLY revolutionary stuff; verses 43-48, all that "Love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you" stuff. Anyone can love their friends, but it takes real work to love your enemies. Sound like nonsense? Remember, love is not a feeling, it's not a reaction, it's an action, a way of treating people (see 1 Corinthians 13).

It makes you wonder... what if after 9/11, instead of invading Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11 anyway) instead we promoted democracy in Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Gave financial aid to Palestine? Helped negotiate peace and eliminate the slave trade and genocide in Darfur? Built schools and hospitals in Jordan and Lebanon? Provided food aid to Ethiopia and Chad? Promoted women's rights in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates? Why not a Peace Corps like JFK came up with? Look how the Marshall Plan after WWII made Europe love us?

Okay, okay, too political, too liberal-Democrat. Sorry, I know I promised not to do that in the high school Bible Study part of this blog.

But think about this; What if the next time someone shoved you in line or grabbed your hat and tried to play keep-away, or called you a name, or gave you the finger, or spread a rumor about you on MySpace or FaceBook- what if every time someone did something bad to you, you exercised Matt 5:38-48? What if?

Even if they didn't feel guilty about treating you poorly, even if it didn't take the fun out of it for them, if nothing else, it would make them look bad for being such jerks and you would look like you're way more mature and self controlled.

And don't forget, part of that is PRAYING for them. God does most of His best work when people bother to pray. Even if your enemies didn't change, prayer changes you. Try it, I DARE you.

What if?


Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Prayer Requests-

Audry's sister Joy, who is undergoing a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy.

Megan and her family, after another overdose.

The South African miners being evacuated from a mile down.

Justin, and all other National Guardsmen and soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, for their safety and sanity, and that of their families here at home.

For peace and diplomacy to succeed in Berma/Myrimar.

For peace and diplomacy to succeed in Darfur.

For peace and diplomacy to succeed in Iraq.

Email prayer sent by a former student

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and everyone of us."
Now, send this to 11 people with in the next 5 minutes and remember to send this back... I count as 1... you'll see why. Suggestion: copy and paste, rather than forward

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Christian LEFT


The great mystery of God's love is that we are not asked to live as if we are not hurting, as if we are not broken. In fact, we are invited to recognize our brokenness as a brokenness in which we can come in touch with the unique way that God loves us. The great invitation is to live your brokenness under the blessing. I cannot take people's brokenness away and people cannot take my brokenness away. But how do you live in your brokenness? Do you live your brokenness under the blessing or under the curse? The great call of Jesus is to put your brokenness under the blessing.

- Henri J.M. Nouwen
Lecture at Scarritt-Bennett Center

Prayer Chain for our troops

Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!
Please send this on after a short prayer. Prayer for our soldiers Don't break it!

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.

Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.

There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one

Support our troops;
By Prayer, Care, and by bringing them home!

Anybody but New York

Man, I want to root for the Cubbies- that would sure be historic. But I'd also love to see my Arizona Diamondbacks go up against Boston. Picture it, Randy Johnson against former teammate Kurt Schilling in the last game of the World Series. That could be almost as historic, right?

Of course Pastor Merrill is a HUGE Chicago fan, as is my best brother in the Lord, Alvin Smooth- but what can I do? My heart belongs to the hometown team (even if I moved away long before they got a team)!

But if the Cubs beat us, then of course, I'll become a Cubs fan, no matter who they play- but especially if they play the damned Yankees.

Hey, I just noticed this- nice colors, eh? Matches this website's banner.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Good quote

"Good can not flow towards you
unless it flows
from you"

~Norman Vincent Peale