Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (8/29/15)

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): Check this out! All the false gods in one convenient place at God Checker: Your Guide To The Gods, which boasts "Discover almost 4,000 gods, goddesses and spirits from around the world!" Yes, they're all here...except that the "Other Mythologies" section at the very bottom of the page? Yeah, I'm not so sure that's a reliable site after all since it lists our shared and cherished faith as "Christian Mythology" and this is despite the factual evidence of the resurrected Lord and Savior not to mention His empty tomb! Strangely enough, when you click on that section is says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about God, His Son Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit! In fact, the ONLY page associated with that section is titled "The Saints of Christianity" and it lists the Top 10 "Latest Popular Christian Saints" too. This would be hilarious if it weren't so ridiculous and sad.

8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): In the Higher Things August Newsletter, Pastor Matt Richard talks about how he and his youth group were grafted into something greater than themselves. "Since I am new to The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (i.e., I colloquized, which means that I left my former denomination to join the LCMS), I was interested in taking the youth of my church to something different than what I had experienced before. Furthermore, according to national trends in Christianity, the younger millennial generation is seeking out and returning to the traditional and historical aspects of Christianity. Therefore, from what I could glean, Higher Things was exactly what I was looking for. So, after a lot of planning in the church and connecting with other area neighboring churches, some 40 youth and chaperones from the region set off to Seward, Nebraska for Higher Things 'Te Deum.'" Be sure to read the rest about his experience.

9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): 
I'm putting this in the "Confessional" category because I like that this layman recognizes the importance of a Lutheran church and school actually being...well...distinctly Lutheran. He wrote the following on The Wittenberg Trail website titled "Outreach To School Parents" and it's the perfect time to share it as many families gear up for back to school (if they haven't returned already): "Our congregation has a strong connection to a Lutheran preschool, elementary school and a high school. I would like to start a program where we offer new parents to our school the opportunity to discuss the ways in which our congregation and the school work together, and how a Christ centered education is so important. My primary interest is to open up communication channels between us and to encourage them in regular worship and Bible study, to let them know how we care for them. Most of them are already members of some Christian church, and It is great to see their God-inspired willingness to spend time and money to give their children a Christ centered education. But if I were one of these parents, I think I would like to talk with some knowledgeable lay or professional person about how it all started and go over some of the advantages of a Christian education. Is there some kind of training material or program in Synod or developed by a congregation that would help us in developing such a program? I don't want to rediscover the wheel, and I also would like some guidance as to what would and what would not be appropriate." Rev. Richard Mittelstadt replied by sharing an excellent resource: "Robert, if I follow your question, at the site I have included a link to has several tracts about Lutheran schooling. I must confess I have not read any of these, but I'm sure they would offer some good insight. 
http://anchorbooksandtracts.com/products.html" Thank God for faithful men like that!

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV) "19 'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 'The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 'No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." My Lutheran Study Bible has this to say about these verses: "Jesus urged a right attitude toward possessions by presenting contrasting pictures of treasures, eyes, and masters. ... Eternal rewards are free and cannot be taken away. The heart will dwell on whatever a person treasures most. ... Humans everywhere, whether rich or poor, are prone to collecting earthly treasures. Yet, only heavenly treasures are eternal. As children of light, God calls us to be generous with our possessions and to serve God as our master rather than live as slaves to possessions. For our sake, Christ became the servant of all -- to save all -- by bearing all of our sins and granting us rich, surpassing, eternal forgiveness. Heavenly Father, lead me to 'seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God' (Colossians 3:1). Amen."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): So we all know that Martin Luther not only sparked controversy when he challenged the authority of the Catholic Church nearly 500 years ago, but that he also ignited the Reformation itself, and was excommunicated by the Pope for it. This week, the Vatican announced that it supports naming a square after him! Next month, a hilltop square in Rome is due to be named "Piazza Martin Lutero," in memory of Luther's achievements. The site chosen is the Oppian Hill, a park area that overlooks the Colosseum. The move has been 6 years in the making, following a request made not by other Lutherans, but by the Seventh-Day Adventists! The original plan was to inaugurate the square in time for the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s historic trip to Rome in 2010. City officials were not able to discuss the process behind naming the square or the reason for the holdup. The move contrasts sharply from views held by Luther around the time of his visit to Rome, when it was said he repeated the saying, "If there is a hell, Rome is built over it."
 

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!

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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!