Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (5/2/15)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was, for Luther, a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins which include Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). For the most part, these will be things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week. Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the "commercials" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?




8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): File this one under "Things You Hear While Working In A Christian-Owned Chocolate Factory" because I was out on the Production Floor the other day when one of the Production Supervisors looked at the clock, realized it was the end of his shift, and he looks at me and says, "What did the shepherds say to each other at the end of the day?" I said, "I don't know! What?" He replied, "Let's get the flock out of here!"

8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): This was one of the most captivating stories I've read in a long time! "I'm Still Scared...But I'm Baptized." is hauntingly hopeful reassuring.

9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): 
 Tim Wood is a Confessional Lutheran layman like me who recently wrote, "Anecdotal evidence indicates that the average LCMS pew-dweller has a superficial grasp of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, mixed with a distaste for Synodical machinations. What happens to this half of the Synod membership when they are confused by the careless 'cooperation in externals' by LCMS entities? This is not a call to play to the lowest common denominator (our seminaries, synodocrats, and pastors have a duty to fix the catechism problem). It is a plea to take greater care lest we weaken or destroy the faith of others by 'disappearing' what is essential for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Unfortunately, our leadership and institutions can be too casual in dismissing objections to their activities as the wailings of fragile pietists, or pharisaism, or a lack of education and sophistication, or the old favorite -- breaking the Eighth Commandment. It is attractive to dwell on 'Christian unity' where it focuses on areas of agreement whilst sweeping disagreements under the rug. The problem is that the disagreements invariably reduce to blaming doctrine, and the people who desire to uphold pure doctrine, as divisive. Pure doctrine becomes the problem rather than the solution it is." Amen! Please read "What Does The LCMS Reap By Sowing Confusion Among Its Members?" for the rest.

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV) "
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." Here's what my Lutheran Study Bible has to say about this: "From the moment believers receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism, a lifelong struggle with the old Adam begins (Galatians 5:17). Instead of controlling the flesh, the Law increases sin (Galatians 5:18; Romans 5; Romans 8). Of the 15 sins listed in verses 19-21, 8 share a common feature: they are behaviors that disrupt Christian fellowship. 'Those who walk according to the flesh [Galatians 5:19-21] retain neither faith nor righteousness' (Ap V 227). The Galatians participate in Christ's crucifixon when baptized (note past tense of 'crucified'). Baptism entails a daily crucifixion (putting to death)) of the flesh. Luther: 'The Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires.' Christian freedom means walking, conducting oneself, by the Holy Spirit's power and leading. Our sinful flesh, consumed by self-importance, instinctively looks down on others and inevitably causes interpersonal tensions. At Baptism, we were united with Christ, who died to set us free from sin and the way of the Law. O Holy Spirit, give us daily victories over sin in our personal life and, above all, the power to love one another. Amen."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): "Prayer Is Not Always A Good Thing" is the kind of direct, honest Christian commentary that I've come to greatly appreciate from Confessional Lutherans within Christ's Church. Why should you read this? Because "One of the most frequently abused gifts of God among Christians today is prayer. For some reason we've gotten this notion that prayer is always a good thing. It is not. Prayer can easily become an attempt to approach God on our own terms, to manipulate Him, or put Him to the test by expecting Him to give us some 'sign' apart from what He's already revealed in His Word. Such prayer is extremely dangerous and not even remotely Christian. It is important to recognize that not all prayer is God-pleasing. The only thing that's worse than repeatedly walking into the traps of Satan is mistaking them for the blessings of Christ. In this article we will consider two common abuses of prayer. The first pertains to whom our prayers are addressed, and the second to the content of our prayers." I also love one of Pastor Eric Andersen's replies in the Comments Section since it captures the common problem I seem to be running into a lot lately with all the Christians where I work and with everyone at our church and the school my kids attend: "There is a sense in which we can, and even should, 'pour out our hearts' to God in prayer. However, when this becomes the basis and content of prayer rather than God's Word, it turns prayer into self-serving idolatry. As our Lord teaches, the heart is entirely corrupt. In order for our prayers to be Christian and God-pleasing, they *must* be tempered by His Word. Unfortunately, many people have this silly notion that Christianity is beyond abuse. So long as we're talking about 'god', Who cares what doctrine is taught? Isn't it a good thing to join with Muslims in pledging allegiance to 'god'? Aren't all movies/books/tv shows about the Bible a good thing? Isn't it better to read a book about God that has some false doctrine than to not read about Him at all? And who cares about the content or direction of worship, so long as we're at church? Prayer is often treated in the same way."
 

Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.


In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day in your God-given vocations.


Grace and peace to you and yours!



NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with...Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all mature spiritually (myself included) then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!