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Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (10/28/2017)

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 famous 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 Netflix or Hulu?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us Lutheran 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." As a result, this unique concept was 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 usual, we turn the The Babylon Bee for our dose of amusement. This week? It's "The Bee Explains: The Protestant Reformation" just in time for you to mass email it to all of your family members and friends who disowned you once you told them you have become a crazy Lutheran.

8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): The theology that emerged from the Reformation wasn't something "new" but was essentially a return so something "old" instead (a.k.a. a return to orthodox Christianity). For clarity, we turn to Luther and Pieper who both showed that Christ took our sin, guilt, and punishment IN OUR PLACE on the cross.

9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): This is from Pastor Mark Surburg and a short piece he wrote this week titled "A Reformation, Not A Revolution" and I absolutely love this part: "Lutherans did away with all of this. Yet while it is easy to focus upon the great change that took place in the Lutheran Reformation, we also need to remember how much stayed the same. Luther and the Lutherans were aiming for a Reformation, not a Revolution. They were removing those things contrary to Scripture and the Gospel. But they were also committed to retaining all that was true and taught the faith. The Lutherans did not wish to be anything other than what they had always been: catholic. They embraced the catholic (universal) teaching of the Church. They confessed the three catholic Creeds. They confessed the Sacraments of Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution and the Sacrament of the Altar. They retained the liturgy, the lectionary and vestments worn by the pastor. In our celebration of the Reformation we rejoice in how much changed as the Gospel became clear once again. But we also rejoice in how much stayed the same. The fact that both of these occurred at the same time has made the Lutheran Church a precious treasure and blessing to us." Beautiful! Pastor Surburg also highlighted how Hermann Sasse said that, thankfully, Lutheranism is not defined by Martin Luther's writings. His words provide the perfect balance and perspective for us this Reformation.

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): The Reformation 500 sermon "Grace Alone" by Pastor Rolf Preus reminds us that, "This was Luther’s dilemma. He didn’t understand grace. He didn’t know where to look to find it. Is grace found in God? Or is grace found in us? Where do we locate grace? Luther grew up believing that grace was a quality that God infused into the soul. God gave you grace. You cooperated with that grace by doing the very best that you could do to obey God’s commandments. God’s grace would help you along the way. It would give you the power to do those things that would make you holy. You looked for God’s grace within your own heart. Luther looked for grace within himself and he couldn’t find it. Instead, he found sin. He wasn’t the first person to seek assurance within only to find conflict and doubt." We must understand Luther's journey and struggle since it's the same journey and struggle we've all faced at one time or another, because only then will we be able to come to truly appreciate what God did through His servant some 500 years ago. As Pastor Matt Richard wrote, "Indeed, there was an explosion in the church some five-hundred years ago as God’s Word revealed the precious, powerful, potent, saving message of Justification by grace through faith."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): I think it makes sense in light of the upcoming anniversary of the Reformation to include an account of another Christian's transition from one denomination to becoming Lutheran and why that even happened in the first place. One such story is "Why I'm Lutheran" by Levi Nunnink, which demonstrates that Lutheranism has something special, because they have Christ, the pure Gospel, and the Sacraments all by the sheer grace of God! As the author writes, "I just want to be a Christian. And I need Jesus. Please, just give me Jesus. On this 500th anniversary of The Reformation I really wish the whole thing hadn’t gone the way it did. I’d love to be a Roman Catholic raising a beer to St. Luther, a doctor of holy mother church who helped correct medieval abuses. I hope that somehow, someday we can patch things up with Rome. But until then, I’m thankful it happened. I’m grateful that so many people fought and died for this. Because of the Lutheran Reformation, I have a place where I can know, as well as my sinful heart can know, that I am a Christian and Jesus is my Lord. A place where my pastor teaches me and my squirming children to say: I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true. Thanks, Dr. Luther & Co." Not much more I can add to that!

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 your average everyday 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 Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 4 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (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 not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, 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 heavily 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 will 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!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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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 and social media 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 sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training 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 arrive at the truth of God's Word (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!

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