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): This week's dose of funny comes to us courtesy of Lutheran Satire and a new(er) video titled "Politicians Run For Congregational President" that's described as: "Tim Humblebrag, Baxter Lugnut, and Danny Pufferchest all disagree on how to fix their congregation’s problems. They all agree, however, that the Gospel is definitely not the solution." It's a little longer than most, but so worth it! In fact, it's even a fitting follow-up to this week's Apologetics series and yesterday's post on the relationship between Apologetics and the Doctrine of Election. Enjoy!
8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): I know that Steadfast Lutherans already highlighted this on their website, which means most of you have probably already read it, but for those who haven't, this is something that we need to address and keep praying about particularly as we get closer to our Synod Convention. It's a commentary titled "The Repentance of Nineveh, Or Mocking God?" and it's a call to action from Rev. Lincoln Winter for a serious response (finally!) to the current state of affairs for many ministers in the LCMS. It's the church's version of "inside baseball" either. In short, "How we treat these men is a clear and unambiguous measure of whether we are keeping our Lord’s command to love our neighbor and honor the ministry." Amen! Now, if you're unfamiliar with what's been going on for several years already and/or have absolutely no idea what in the world this is even referring to (which is, sadly, very likely since many Lutheran parishes have kept their congregants in the dark about the cold, hard realities of the Office of the Holy Ministry in the LCMS), then please be sure to start by READING THIS (and perhaps even DOWNLOAD THIS to read too) before you read this latest commentary from Rev. Winter on the topic. Bottom line? "No matter how much a church may thrive numerically or financially, if it treats faithful pastors badly it is rotting from the inside."
9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): I like to use this section to simply share and excerpt from our Book of Concord/Lutheran Confessions. Here's this week's entry from The Epitome of the Formula of Concord section on "Free Will" section: "2] 1. Concerning this subject, our doctrine, faith, and confession is, that in spiritual things the understanding and reason of man are [altogether] blind, and by their own powers understand nothing, as it is written 1 Cor. 2:14: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them when he is examined concerning spiritual things. 3] 2. Likewise we believe, teach, and confess that the unregenerate will of man is not only turned away from God, but also has become an enemy of God, so that it only has an inclination and desire for that which is evil and contrary to God, as it is written Gen. 8:21: The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. Also Rom. 8:7: The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither, indeed, can be. Yea, as little as a dead body can quicken itself to bodily, earthly life, so little can man, who by sin is spiritually dead, raise himself to spiritual life, as it is written Eph. 2:5: Even when we were dead in sins, He hath quickened us together with Christ; 2 Cor. 3:5: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything good as of ourselves, but that we are sufficient is of God. 4] 3. God the Holy Ghost, however, does not effect conversion without means, but uses for this purpose the preaching and hearing of God's Word, as it is written Rom. 1:16: The Gospel is the power of God 5] unto salvation to every one that believeth. Also Rom. 10:17: Faith cometh by hearing of the Word of God. And it is God's will that His Word should be heard, and that man's ears should not be closed. Ps. 95:8. With this Word the Holy Ghost is present, and opens hearts, so that they, as Lydia in Acts 16:14, are attentive to it, and are thus converted alone through the grace and power of the Holy Ghost, whose 6] work alone the conversion of man is. For without His grace, and if He do not grant the increase, our willing and running, our planting, sowing, and watering, all are nothing, as Christ says John 15:5: Without Me ye can do nothing. With these brief words He denies to the free will its powers, and ascribes everything to God's grace, in order that no one may boast before God. 1 Cor. 1:29; 2 Cor. 12:5; Jer. 9:23."
9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Here's Rev. Matt Richard citing both Martin Luther and C.F.W. Walther on the Doctrine of Predestination, which came up in our studies yesterday: "The doctrine of predestination belongs to the Gospel, not the Law. Whenever the scripture uses the term of election, some 70 times, it is applied only to the believing Christian. Therefore, if the hearer finds himself reacting negatively to the doctrine of predestination or if he finds himself in doubt, his ears are not hearing predestination correctly. If the hearer is reacting negatively he is most assuredly hearing the doctrine of predestination through the lens of Law, not Gospel. Martin Luther comments on the doctrine of election in the Epistle of Romans saying, 'In chapters nine, ten, and eleven the apostle teaches about the eternal predestination of God. He tells how it originally comes about that a person will believe or not, will become rid of his sins or not. He does so in order that our becoming pious be taken entirely out of our own hands and placed into the hand of God. And indeed it is supremely necessary that this be done; for we are so weak and unstable that if the matter depended on us, surely not a single person would be saved, but the devil would certainly overpower all. Since, however, God is certain that His predestination cannot fail and no one can defeat His purpose, our hope against sin remains. ... Following the order of this Epistle: first be concerned about Christ and the Gospel, in order to recognize your sin and His grace; then fight against your sins. . . . Adam must first be quite dead before a man is able to bear this subject and to drink this strong wine.' Essentially what Luther is stating is that the old Adam needs to be killed, for the old Adam will not be able to hear about predestination as Gospel gift. Rather than hearing comfort, the old Adam will most definitely hear the doctrines of predestination as a threat to his dominion and attempts at preserving the notion of free will. Yes, the old Adam takes a tremendously comforting doctrine such as predestination and turns it into something that threatens man. Oh, the perverse tactics of the old man!"
10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): A new acquaintance of mine, and future Lutheran Seminarian, Josh Radke, recently shared this on Facebook and I thought I'd do my small part to try and help him out by sharing it here for all of you: "The big uprooting to attend Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines is getting closer, and faster. If you would enjoy a 'superhistorical' adventure (the first in a series) while also helping me and my family out with the costs of seminary life, please consider purchasing my novel Stitched Crosses: Crusade (and my wife's when it comes out later this year)... :-) Stitched Crosses: Crusade is a tale of faith in doubt and turmoil. Set in the waning days of the 12th century, Christendom has embarked to rescue Outremer from Saladin’s Muslim armies. These historical events, combined with exciting medieval action, popular romantic legend, and the sense of the Divine, serve as the canvas to this tale of a knight wrestling with his spirit. Markus is an English lord and Templar fearing God and hiding from his past. The Hospitaller, Sir Charle, and the woman of Markus’s heart, Lady Mairín, desire to end his ruinous descent into despair. A letter from a slain brother-knight is perceived as the calling for Markus to return to the Land of Christ, and his failures. There he expects to discover whether God will set his conscience free from the weight of his burdens and restore him, or if he must offer his life to attain his absolution. I receive at least $3 from sales of my novel when bought through Ad Crucem, Amazon.com, or as an e-book (e.g. Kindle, iPad, Nook devices). It is available from other major online retailers. You can order it from your local bookshop by name. It is available as an ebook for many platforms. Copies of the trade paperback are available for $10.99 (or less) + shipping; digital copies are $4.99 across all platforms. Choose your option, and read the full featured reviews, here https://grailquestbooks.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/stitched-crosses-crusade/ and here http://www.adcrucem.com/products/joshua-rothe-stitched-crosses-crusade Please share :-) If you have read the story (or plan to), please be sure to leave feedback at Amazon.com; such feedback is vital. Thank you!" Friends, please prayerfully consider supporting him as he obeys God's call to enter Seminary to pursue the Office of the Holy Ministry.
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, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 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/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) 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 I 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 footnotes 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 under-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 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!