Evangelism as Deprogramming

 

 

Last night was a night of inspiration. Six motivated laypeople and I were discussing what good doctrine might teach us about current practices in our congregations, and the conversation turned to evangelism.

We returned to two ideas we had begun with five weeks before, as we began our look at “Lutheran Creeds and Confessions;” namely, […]

Christmas Eve Reflections

On this Christmas Eve Connie and I have been touched once again by the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge, England.

 

Two bits of verse from the carols especially touched me.

 

Here is the last verse of  “In the Bleak Midwinter” words by Christina Rosetti and music by Gustav Holst:

 

What can I […]

Handling the Primal

“I want to hold her,” Connie pleaded with me.

 

She rolled up her shirt and undershirt and took puppy Number One from me. An hour or so before I had called to Connie, “We’re losing her.”  

Puppy Number One is so small lying on Abbie’s foreleg. Photo by John

 

 

Tiny, black, with just a half of a […]

Empty Lambing Pen--Empty Tomb

           Saint Matthew’s account of the Empty Tomb contains this angelic message: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, […]

The Woman at the Well

The famous dialog between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is part of a series of beautifully crafted dialogs in the Fourth Gospel. Several themes appear repeatedly in this series.

 

Spiritual knowing or seeing is one theme. Jesus is operating on the highest spiritual plane and he works to lift others up—something that […]

A Test of Wills before Bedtime

Before bedtime we always give our seven sheepdogs one last run around the farm to do their business.

Last night it was rather typical weather for this winter: about 9 degrees Fahrenheit and a sharp wind of around 20 mph, so I was bundled in Muck Boots, long underwear, fleece-lined pants, wool shirt, down vest and […]

Joseph's Fear and Ours

The following is a sermon I prepared for Advent 4–December 22 at First Lutheran Church in Lee, Illinois. Icy roads caused the cancellation of the service, so, I offer this sermon for the members of Lee and for anyone interested. I pray it adds to Christmastide reflections.

 

If an angel of the Lord appears before you […]

Jim Smith, Julie Cork, and Real Faith

A 26 year-old hipster comedian held forth on Comedy Central a couple of weeks ago. My wife and I laughed at him for a few minutes as he did his impressions of drunk young women and his friend who acted the gangsta’, even with his first words on getting up in the morning.

 

 

Then he launched […]

Shadow and Substance

         

            The apostle, Paul, writes to many congregations whose main problem is not the lack of religion, but too much of the wrong kind. The church at Colossae is one of them.

            In the lesson for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Colossians 2:6-19, Paul urges the people who have “received Christ Jesus the Lord” to “live…rooted […]

Antidote for Complacency: Reflections of Sunday's Readings

The very first thing that caught my eye as I drove into Ann Arbor the spring of 1966 was that strange graffiti on a huge concrete retaining wall. Being in Greek I could not decipher it and perhaps for that very reason it tantalized me.

Of course,  as soon as I started my studies at Concordia College […]