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): As a "Newtheran" myself, I'm not entirely sure what the whole "Radical Lutheranism" vs. "Non-Radical Lutheranism" thing is all about, but it's been somewhat funny watching several LCMS Pastors I've learned quite a bit from choosing a side and digging in. On one hand, I'm amused by some of the back-and-forth in various Facebook groups and threads, because it comforts me with the truth that Pastors are just redeemed sinners living with the reality of Simul justus et peccator like I am right now. Bottom line, I think I need to spend some time researching the topic more closely so I at least understand what all the fuss is about. In any event, it's only "amusing" in the sense that a majority of what passes as "Christianity" today would have you believe that there is a spiritual level you can reach to become a type of "Super Christian" (like all these so-called "Pastors" that believe they are somehow better than the sheep they are supposed to serve and/or are above reproach), and yet, the kinds of things I've read and seen in the past week in regards to this topic proves that Lutheran Pastors at least admit that they are no better than the rest of us.
8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): I just love going to Scott Diekmann's old blog to randomly type in a search term to see what comes up. The material he's compiled there over the years (and left freely available to us even though he no longer publishes new content for the blog anymore) has helped me tremendously in my conversion to becoming a Confessional Lutheran. So, it's truly been a real blessing to me for sure. Today, I discovered "God Hates Sin But Loves The Sinner?" (notice the question mark) from 2011 and have already added to my list of things I have to read. You should do the same. Here's a small taste: "You’ve probably heard the phrase 'God hates the sin but loves the sinner' in the past. It’s a phrase that’s a little dated. There’s not a whole lot of talk about sin or the sinner any more. Emerging Church leader Rob Bell’s book Love Wins is a good example, where his comment on the orthodox Christian doctrine of heaven and hell is that it’s 'misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.' Yes, the world, and specifically sinners, don’t want to hear that they’re sinners. And they certainly don’t want to hear that God hates sinners, but that’s precisely what they need to hear. A few years back one of the retired pastors in our congregation gave me a copy of the following paper, written by Dr. Walter W. F. Albrecht in 1953, titled 'Does God Hate Sin or the Sinner?' Dr. Albrecht does a great job of explaining that God does hate the sinner, and why it is important that that message be preached, followed by the Gospel message that Christ died to save sinners."
9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): "God always has a purpose in the crosses He places on us. Sometimes the greatest cross is His apparent absence. This world and what goes on in it severely challenges our faith. We may grow confused and our faith may be shaken as we are attacked by physical pain, devastating emotional pain, broken relationships, bankruptcy, loss of hope, anger, bitterness, stress, sorrow, and the list goes on and on. Where is God's plan in all of this? Finally, we cry out for God's help, which puts us in good company. In many of the psalms, we hear God's people crying out to Him in anguished expressions of pain, distress, and misery. God does not abandon us. He knows what we are experiencing. He knows what we need and what is best for us. Life is not luck, it is not random. Life is a gift from God, and He sustains and provides for all our needs. God watches over us, protects us, and provides for us. He hears our anguished cries for help, our prayers of need. We may not always understand God's answers, so He points us to the day when all suffering will end. He reminds us that we are pilgrims on this earth (1 Peter 2:11) who look forward to an incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). And God reminds us through the apostle Paul that 'the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us' (Romans 8:18). God uses our suffering and weakness to drive us to confess our helplessness before Him, which then drives us to Jesus. Jesus is always the answer to the questions and prayers of every Christian. Through the crosses He places on those He loves, God assures that His children will never stop looking to Jesus as Savior." by Daniel Preus
9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): 1 John 2:7-14 (ESV) "7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." My Lutheran Study Bible has this to say about these verses: "Jesus has shown us the love of God on the cross. This is the love the Law commanded but we could never fulfill. But more than that, it is the love that the Gospel imparts to those who love their brother and abide in the light so that there is in them nothing that would cause them to fall away from faith in Christ. The old commandment, 'love your neighbor as yourself' (Leviticus 19:18), condemns us all, since we have not loved out neighbors as ourselves. The new commandment, 'love one another as I have loved you' (John 15:12), is rooted in Jesus' work, which frees us from guilt. His atonement for our sins empowers us to love as He loves. Grant, Lord, that we trust in You and Your love, that we may always love our neighbor. Amen."
10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): Prayers Requested -- for LCMS Synod President, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison and his family, at the loss of their home to fire in Missouri the other day.
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: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!