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): For those who missed it, my lovely wife thinks so fondly of me...
8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): Pastor Donavon Riley's article "How Luther Taught Me To Read The Bible" is a compelling read mainly because I have a feeling a lot of people can relate to the Pastor's own experience in being drawn to Christ Jesus (John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8-9). Here's a brief selection: "I tried to read Romans, Ephesians, Philemon, Jude, and Revelation. At the time, they seemed to say the same as the other 'holy' books. 'God expects you to do something if you don’t want to be judged or damned or end up in hell.' But when I turned to the Old Testament, to the Psalms and Jonah in particular, it was like drinking from a fire hose. Here were people who struggled to believe, who suffered, who were angry at God, who had hurt themselves, who cried out for help, and didn’t seem to get along with religious people. These were my people! Later, when I was introduced to Martin Luther, I discovered a spiritual brother. Here was an Old Testament Professor. A man who’d been awakened to the faithful, loving, kindness of God in the midst of his spiritual struggles, while he was lecturing on the Psalms. At last I’d found someone who could teach me how to read the Bible. A Christian brother who could point me to the answer I was looking for in the Bible: 'Why did God choose me?'" Do read the rest of that one.
9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): A different sort of spin on the "Dose of Vitamin C (Confessional)" category this week, but I felt it was important for us to consider what young men go through as they pursue their education to become a Confessional Lutheran Pastor in this day-and-age, and to, hopefully, become one of God's called and ordained servants of His Word and Sacraments. The first is an article that outlines the financial costs of becoming a Pastor and the second is one man's personal account of his first year of Seminary, which just completed. Please pray for him and others like him (and perhaps even support them financially too).
9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): As a "Newtheran" who's still learning about the church calendar year, I never knew about "Ascension Day" let alone set it apart as a special day of worship. This is one of the things I've grown to appreciate (thanks be to God!) about my journey to becoming a Confessional Lutheran. Well, since we just celebrated Ascension Day 2015 this past Thursday, I thought it might be a good idea to reference a related sermon. Here's what Pastor Charles Henrickson delivered just a couple of days ago: "'He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.' That's what we just confessed about our Lord Jesus Christ, isn't it? This portion of the Apostles' Creed captures what this day, Ascension Day, is all about. These three things: He ascended into heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father. And he will come again. A past act. A present reality. And a future hope. And all of these things are good news for you. So now let's consider these blessed truths, under the theme: 'The Past, Present, and Future of the Ascension.' The lessons appointed for Ascension Day -- from Luke, from Ephesians, and from Acts -- these lessons lead us into these truths and show us the past, present, and future dimensions of the Ascension of Our Lord. We take them now, one at a time." Please check out "The Past, Present, And Future of The Ascension (Sermon On Luke 24, Ephesians 1, And Acts 1)" for a better understanding of why this day is so special.
10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): "The Users Guide To Postmodern Christianity" by Steven Kozar is the epitome of "satire" and "snark," but it is quite necessary and warranted. Like when he writes: "Once you're safely in this loop you won't need to carefully consider the truth claims of another believer with their precious little Bible verses. And, thankfully, you'll never have to learn anything about the theology and creeds that have been passed down for almost two thousand years. Remember, there are still old-fashioned Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental. These dinosaurs want to conduct church the same old way and cling to antiquated beliefs that are out of step with today's social climate. You can easily ignore these people if you're 'in the loop.' Before you know it, you will have completely dehumanized them and-best of all-you'll never even realize that you've been the judgmental one all along!" It continues with gems like this: "Don't read, quote or even think about the Bible. I know, I know, this sounds extreme, but remember this is Postmodern Christianity. Postmodernity is a belief system that says that no belief system is true. It's absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. The Bible is full of absolute truth claims-that's why it's so exclusive and out-of-date. However, you will still need to make reference to it on occasion, so it's good to have some overly simplistic proof-texts handy. 'Thou shall not judge' is the all-time most popular proof-text, so feel free to throw it around as often as you want. Just remember not to read the entire passage in the actual Bible, otherwise you'll see what Jesus really meant. You can even misquote it like this: 'Who are we to judge?' or 'Only God can judge -- that's not my job!'" How true is all of that? My favorite? "Finally, when in doubt, always prefer ambiguity over certainty and truth. Ambiguity is the magic glue that holds Postmodern Christianity together. What does this mean? I don't know, what do you think it means?" Precisely! Sad, but tragically true indeed! A good follow-up read as it pertains to the LCMS is "I Don't Enjoy Coffee With My Pastor -- The Honest Frustrations of A Layman" by Nathan Redman.
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!