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): You gotta hand it to the Pope. Not only did Pope Francis fail to mention Jesus Christ a single time in his lecture to Congress, but he played the part of a true politician when he demonstrated his true hypocrisy. While Pope Francis was here in the United States effectively advocating for a borderless America, many people are amused by the irony of the giant wall surrounding his own Vatican City.
8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): Chad Bird's "The Saddest Words Ever Spoken To A Sinner" is one that needs to be shared as much as possible. Here's why: "When we confess, we don’t need to hear, 'Good news! Now, let me teach you seven spiritual disciplines whereby you can be victorious in this struggle against iniquity.' When we say, 'I’ve screwed up big time. I’ve betrayed my spouse, my family, my friends. I’ve hurt lots of people,' we don’t need to hear, 'Yes, you have. You need to make that right, learn to walk the talk, and act like a Christian next time. And, by the way, here are ten principles to follow to keep you on the straight and narrow.' We already feel like Mt. Sinai is hanging over us by a thread; such law-centered advice is the sound of scissors snipping. I think of Judas every Sunday. During the Lord’s Supper, I hear my pastor repeat these words from St. Paul, 'Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took bread…,' (1 Cor 11:23). On the night when he was betrayed by Judas, Jesus did not betray his mission to save Judas and all other sinners. He not only took bread on the night when he was betrayed, he took the rotting food of our iniquity and devoured it. Jesus took our evil ways and swallowed them. He took the poison of death and gulped it down. He took our back-stabbing, our playing Judas, and digested it. His plate was full. His cup was overflowing. And he consumed it all. Judas’s sin, the priests’ sin, my sin, your sin. Not one crumb of this world’s iniquity remained, not one drop of death. Whether you repent or not, whether you believe it or not, it is done. So repent, believe, for it is done, and it is true, all for you. Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, never for a moment betrayed his mission to earn absolution for the world. If the saddest words ever spoken to a sinner are, 'What is that to us? See to it yourself,' then the happiest words ever spoken to a sinner are these, 'Christ forgives you. Your sins are atoned for. Jesus has seen to it himself.'"
9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): Here's a timely excerpt from the Book of Concord in light of Pope Francis' visit to the United States this week: "...it is manifest that the Roman pontiffs and their adherents defend godless doctrines and godless forms of worship, and it is plain that the marks of the Antichrist coincide with those of the pope’s kingdom and his followers. For in describing the Antichrist in his letter to the Thessalonians Paul calls him 'an adversary of Christ who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God' (II Thess. 2:3, 4). He speaks therefore of one who rules in the church and not of the kings of nations, and he calls that man 'an adversary of Christ' because he will devise doctrines which conflict with the Gospel and will arrogate to himself divine authority. On the one hand, it is manifest that the pope rules in the church 40 and that he has set up this kingdom for himself on the pretext of the authority of the church and the ministry, offering as pretext these words,'I will give you the keys' (Matt. 16:19). On the other hand, the doctrine of the pope conflicts in many ways with the Gospel, and the pope arrogates to himself a threefold divine authority. First, because he assumes for himself the right to change the doctrine of Christ and the worship instituted by God, and he wishes to have his own doctrine and worship observed as divine. Second, because he assumes for himself not only the power to loose and bind in this life but also the jurisdiction over souls after this life. Third, because the pope is unwilling to be judged by the church or by anybody, and he exalts his authority above the decisions of councils and the whole church. Such unwillingness to be judged by the church or by anybody is to make himself out to be God. (The Book of Concord, Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, page 327,Tappert Edition)." As Pastor Mark Schroeder recently reminded us, "If you have never read, or it has been a long time since you have reread, the Lutheran Confessions on the office of the papacy, please do this week: The Smalcald Articles, Article IV, The Papacy and Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. In short, the Roman Church believes, teaches and confesses the Pope rules by divine right."
9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Instead of the usual Bible passage and the Lutheran Study Bible footnotes that go with it this week, I thought I'd share an excellent sermon instead from Pastor Matt Richard. It's titled "You Do Not Have A Crossless, Uncrucified, 'Precious Moments' Jesus" and that's definitely an appropriate title, because "The harsh reality that Peter was confronted with some two-thousand years ago is that the Gospel that saves is a gory and painful Gospel. Yes, the Gospel that saves is a message where Jesus is bloodied, beaten, mocked, and where He seems to lose."
10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): As seen on Facebook recently -- "THE END OF THE WORLD IS JUST ANOTHER DOOMSDAY AWAY! Well ... September 23, 2015 came and went uneventfully, without much ado, no Christ's second coming or rapture, no global financial collapse, martial law, doomsday, fanfare, or anything else unusual, even after a lot of FaceBook and YouTube hype by conspiracy theorists, preppers, paranormals, prophets, psychics, sages, seers, survivalists and hyper-charismatic sign-seeking Christians. I didn't see stars falling from the sky, super volcanoes, great earthquakes, tsunamis, global pestilences, Planet X or Nephilim being released from the deep. What happened? Nothing really! Just as I thought. I slept, I ate, I peed! Crazy date-setters! O WAIT! We still have the blood moon on September the 27th! 'See ... in North America you'll always know when the world ends because it'll happen in China first.' Matthew 24:36 ~ 'But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.' You're welcome. by Pete Homes"
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!