The Lutheran Doctrine of Culture

Thanks to Frank Sonnek in a comment yesterday for alerting me, via Cyberbrethren, to Charles Arand’s article in “Lutheran Quarterly” a few years ago entitled Two Kinds of Righteousness as a Framework for Law and Gospel in the Apology. A sample:

What is meant by two kinds of human righteousness? Theologically, to be
righteous is to be human as God envisioned in creation, and again in redemption. One might modify the Athanasian dictum to say, ‘‘God became fully human that we might become fully
human.’’ The distinction between two kinds of r ighteousness rests upon the observation that there are two dimensions to being a human creature. One dimension involves our life with God, especially in the matters of death and salvation. The other dimension involves our life with God’s creatures and our activity in this world. In the for mer we receive righteousness before God through faith on account of Chr ist. In the latter, we achieve righteousness in the
eyes of the world by works when we carry out our God-given responsibilities.

This concept of two kinds of righteousness, sometimes called among other terms “civil righteousness” and “inner righteousness,” is closely related to the doctrines of the Two Kingdoms and Vocation. Lutheranism has much to say about “civil righteousness,” and it is not just do whatever your government says; rather, it is a critical and positive concept about what life in the civil sphere must be. Not just that, these teachings are enshrined in our confessional documents, which are authoritative for all Lutherans, specifically, in Melanchthon’s “Apology to the Augsburg Confession,” the often-neglected sections XXII-XXVIII.

Civil righteousness has to do with God’s created order in all spheres of life (so ideologies that deny God’s creation and its objective order, whether in the realms of the true, the good, the beautiful, or the political are in violation of this teaching). Melanchthon’s doctrine of civil virtue is Aristotelian; he affirms reason; he insists on cultural engagement; he establishes the basis for classical education; and he even affirms cultural differences. His treatment is remarkably sophisticated and relevant for the issues Christians are struggling with today. I don’t know of any other theological tradition that has such a thorough and positive theology of culture than confessional Lutheranism, and I think it is something that all Christians can draw from.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bror Erickson

    Something I have been struggling with lately in regards to civic righteousness. It seems to me from the New Testament, that the world will hate us Christians. I think this is lost in many discussions about the issue. Even in the civic realm God’s law not man’s reigns supreme for the Christian. And for this reason society will not always if only very rarely see Christians as righteous even by “societies” standards. This may be less true in a culture so influenced by Christianity. But I do think it still hold’s true in many cases.

  • Bror Erickson

    Something I have been struggling with lately in regards to civic righteousness. It seems to me from the New Testament, that the world will hate us Christians. I think this is lost in many discussions about the issue. Even in the civic realm God’s law not man’s reigns supreme for the Christian. And for this reason society will not always if only very rarely see Christians as righteous even by “societies” standards. This may be less true in a culture so influenced by Christianity. But I do think it still hold’s true in many cases.

  • fwsonnek

    #1 Bror

    It is true that many times , whistle blowers will be christian. It can often mean death for a policeman whose vocation is to work with others who are corrupt.

    He cannot be trusted if he is incorruptable. Even if he blows no whistle. He must die. It happens ALL the time here in brasil. our time is coming in the usa for this…

    I am not sure I agree Bror. In the first century, abortions and worse infanticide were quite normal. Yet christians were not looked down upon or ridiculed for not practicing those things. In fact , within a few hundred years, those things ceased to be the norm.

    Our reach for power as a solution , that are symptomatic of our misconceptions about civic righteousness and its connection to our faith might be the problem , rather than our faith in God and that our morality comes from him.

  • fwsonnek

    #1 Bror

    It is true that many times , whistle blowers will be christian. It can often mean death for a policeman whose vocation is to work with others who are corrupt.

    He cannot be trusted if he is incorruptable. Even if he blows no whistle. He must die. It happens ALL the time here in brasil. our time is coming in the usa for this…

    I am not sure I agree Bror. In the first century, abortions and worse infanticide were quite normal. Yet christians were not looked down upon or ridiculed for not practicing those things. In fact , within a few hundred years, those things ceased to be the norm.

    Our reach for power as a solution , that are symptomatic of our misconceptions about civic righteousness and its connection to our faith might be the problem , rather than our faith in God and that our morality comes from him.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    It might help to remember that in Luther’s doctrine of vocation, activity in the left-hand kingdom is characterized by love and service to others. There is no distinction made between who we serve; we serve our neighbo–and in stewardship–the creation. We “scatter our gifts upon an ungrateful world” as it were. Luther’s example of how God serves all through his creation, using the example of fruit and wheat: “For whom do I bear my delicious fruit or berry? For the worst rogues and rascals on earth!” (Luther’s Sermon on the Mount). Wingren comments: “This is a pattern for Christian love, which must be willing to be misused, and to be a ‘lost love’”.

    Civic righteousness, then, is not always visible or appreciated, and in fact could be “hated” by the world. So I agree with Bror in this. But yes, to the extent that we remain salt and light, we have an edifying influence on the world, often without knowing it. And thar’s the rub. Civic righteousness–rubber meeting the road–looks messy and convoluted and is “on earth” a mixed bag.

    Frank’s comment about “our reach for power” is interesting in light of Veith’s comment in his “pre-modern politics” post, to the effect that in pre-modern times, hmmm, how did it go?–civic righteousness had to do with justice, whereas in modern times, it has to do with power.
    The Holy Spirit, may I venture, is about justice–always a new, creative work. The world is about power–cheap, gross imitation of the Holy Spirit’s work.

    Or something like that.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    It might help to remember that in Luther’s doctrine of vocation, activity in the left-hand kingdom is characterized by love and service to others. There is no distinction made between who we serve; we serve our neighbo–and in stewardship–the creation. We “scatter our gifts upon an ungrateful world” as it were. Luther’s example of how God serves all through his creation, using the example of fruit and wheat: “For whom do I bear my delicious fruit or berry? For the worst rogues and rascals on earth!” (Luther’s Sermon on the Mount). Wingren comments: “This is a pattern for Christian love, which must be willing to be misused, and to be a ‘lost love’”.

    Civic righteousness, then, is not always visible or appreciated, and in fact could be “hated” by the world. So I agree with Bror in this. But yes, to the extent that we remain salt and light, we have an edifying influence on the world, often without knowing it. And thar’s the rub. Civic righteousness–rubber meeting the road–looks messy and convoluted and is “on earth” a mixed bag.

    Frank’s comment about “our reach for power” is interesting in light of Veith’s comment in his “pre-modern politics” post, to the effect that in pre-modern times, hmmm, how did it go?–civic righteousness had to do with justice, whereas in modern times, it has to do with power.
    The Holy Spirit, may I venture, is about justice–always a new, creative work. The world is about power–cheap, gross imitation of the Holy Spirit’s work.

    Or something like that.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Question for Dr. Veith:

    I come from the Scottish Reformed Presbyterian tradition, and so am not quite so used to these categories of thought (namely, civil and inner righteousness). What role would you say these two kinds of righteousness play in our justification, and what role in our sanctification?

    Thanks for your time!

    In Christ.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Question for Dr. Veith:

    I come from the Scottish Reformed Presbyterian tradition, and so am not quite so used to these categories of thought (namely, civil and inner righteousness). What role would you say these two kinds of righteousness play in our justification, and what role in our sanctification?

    Thanks for your time!

    In Christ.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, Adrian, our relationship to God is based not at all on our works but solely on His work in atoning for us in Jesus Christ (justification). But when we have justifying faith, that bears fruit in our life in the world, the realm of vocation and civil righteousness. I think Calvinists would agree with this.

    Sanctification is Christ’s work of making us holy; part of this has to do with how we live out our faith in our lives and callings, and part of it has to do with our growing closer to Christ and in our faith by “bearing the cross” in our trials and tribulations and failures, including our failures to live as we should.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, Adrian, our relationship to God is based not at all on our works but solely on His work in atoning for us in Jesus Christ (justification). But when we have justifying faith, that bears fruit in our life in the world, the realm of vocation and civil righteousness. I think Calvinists would agree with this.

    Sanctification is Christ’s work of making us holy; part of this has to do with how we live out our faith in our lives and callings, and part of it has to do with our growing closer to Christ and in our faith by “bearing the cross” in our trials and tribulations and failures, including our failures to live as we should.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Dr. Veith,

    Thanks for the clarification. I, as a firm Calvinist, would definitely agree with your assessment of justification. I see that you’re placing the ideas of civil and inner righteousness squarely in the bounds of sanctification. Some interesting food for thought, as I don’t think Calvinists think about sanctification as much as we should. Certainly the idea of looking at different ways we are called to be righteous after our justification is somewhat foreign.

    Thanks for your reply!

    In Christ.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Dr. Veith,

    Thanks for the clarification. I, as a firm Calvinist, would definitely agree with your assessment of justification. I see that you’re placing the ideas of civil and inner righteousness squarely in the bounds of sanctification. Some interesting food for thought, as I don’t think Calvinists think about sanctification as much as we should. Certainly the idea of looking at different ways we are called to be righteous after our justification is somewhat foreign.

    Thanks for your reply!

    In Christ.

  • fwsonnek

    #5 Vieth:

    May I add that justification and sanctification mirror the passive and active work our Lord. these are BOTH completely ours. We Lutherans do not rely solely on Jesus Atonement on the Cross for our salvation. This would not be enough or complete!

    We also claim Jesus perfect life of obedience is ours by faith. It is truly “in, with and under” every Christian saint! This is infused into us and is sanctification.

    The holiness folk are off by a critical one degree from the correct idea. Here is where they are not in on the joke: It is complete. Our salvation is not merely a juridical decree. It is also an existential change of who we are. A complete change of identity.

    Nothing partial. so whenever sanctification is preached as being incomplete this is incorrect.

    This incompleteness should rather be said about our repentance.

    Our repentance (which is to see things differently, to con-fess with God His truth about us as being right), our seeing things 20/20, is only complete insofar as we are reborn. so even our repentance is not a sure visible sign. We see through a glass darkly indeed.

    We see in repentance, imperfectly yet, that our works which we still (!) must be driven and compelled to do, evan as christians, fall more than merely short. These works in the lives of a christian that we can actually see, are fruits of the law. These fruits are God pleasing and even completely necessary in every sense of the word necessary, even if not hol-y as in whole. And these very fruits, along with our grunting and sweating to even squeeze out meager and transitory “results” drive us, and even pagans to judge ourselves as lacking precisely because they are lacking. They de-moral-ize us in every way. The Law is designed to de-moral-ize in fact.

    Since these “civic” fruits are wrested from our old adam by brute force, much as we do things in athletic training and competition and in running a race, they are therefore not properly fruits of sanctification. But they are God pleasing and utterly necessary so that there may be peace and the gospel may have free course among men. In this “civic” sphere, Christians are visibly indistinguishable both as to works and as to motivation (!).

    The only tangible evidence we have for the fruits sanctification are faith. That faith gives us courage to run the race. especially when our strength of will and force fail us and we continually finish in last place if we are honest. It is actually worse than this: we stumble and don´t even make the finish line.

    That finish line is reached the day of our death. We keep our eyes on the finish line , and motivated by faith, pick ourselves up again and start all over again, seemingly at the starting gate. We usually don´t even see progress I am saying here.

    Repentence here is a weak and very passive “seeing.” a passive, usually exhaused and completely de-moralized (!) con-fessing.

    Repentance is a de-moral-ization that effects surrender to Christ.

    We can then passively receive his gifts of body and blood and forgiveness with the sure and certain hope of eternal life that those things work “in, with, and under” every Christian who has them as the only sure and certain and visible “Marks” of our salvation that we are given and the only infallible marks, as we gather around them, that we are in fact forgiven, and therefore true Christians.

    The opposite error of Lutheran and biblical truth is this: that Christians are urged and directed to find a regenerate will that is a tangible mark of faith. Pietism, Rome and calvinism all hold up sanctified works or at least the will to do them, and the absence of will to sin, as a tangible sign of being one of the Elect.

    They then call THIS active will sanctification, or a fruit of sanctification, or repentance. Christians then despair when they finally are forced, often by even their discourses with the devil, the world and their own flesh, to confess that ALL their sins are at root willful, and spring always from pure idolatry. The also are forced to confess also that their repentance is incomplete, and not completely honest, even now that they are Christians. The Old Adam clings still to us with ITS will, indistinguishable from our reborn will to the extent that it actually appears, falsely so, to be a very part of our human nature. Therefore not even our regenerate will can safely serve as a “mark” of the church or of being a “true” Christian.

    This usually leads directly to the greatest sin of all, despair. This comes from looking for the visible “marks” that we are saved in the wrong place. We have misplaced our trust. Again idolatry rears it´s head as the root of all sin.

    Who will rescue us from all this indeed!

  • fwsonnek

    #5 Vieth:

    May I add that justification and sanctification mirror the passive and active work our Lord. these are BOTH completely ours. We Lutherans do not rely solely on Jesus Atonement on the Cross for our salvation. This would not be enough or complete!

    We also claim Jesus perfect life of obedience is ours by faith. It is truly “in, with and under” every Christian saint! This is infused into us and is sanctification.

    The holiness folk are off by a critical one degree from the correct idea. Here is where they are not in on the joke: It is complete. Our salvation is not merely a juridical decree. It is also an existential change of who we are. A complete change of identity.

    Nothing partial. so whenever sanctification is preached as being incomplete this is incorrect.

    This incompleteness should rather be said about our repentance.

    Our repentance (which is to see things differently, to con-fess with God His truth about us as being right), our seeing things 20/20, is only complete insofar as we are reborn. so even our repentance is not a sure visible sign. We see through a glass darkly indeed.

    We see in repentance, imperfectly yet, that our works which we still (!) must be driven and compelled to do, evan as christians, fall more than merely short. These works in the lives of a christian that we can actually see, are fruits of the law. These fruits are God pleasing and even completely necessary in every sense of the word necessary, even if not hol-y as in whole. And these very fruits, along with our grunting and sweating to even squeeze out meager and transitory “results” drive us, and even pagans to judge ourselves as lacking precisely because they are lacking. They de-moral-ize us in every way. The Law is designed to de-moral-ize in fact.

    Since these “civic” fruits are wrested from our old adam by brute force, much as we do things in athletic training and competition and in running a race, they are therefore not properly fruits of sanctification. But they are God pleasing and utterly necessary so that there may be peace and the gospel may have free course among men. In this “civic” sphere, Christians are visibly indistinguishable both as to works and as to motivation (!).

    The only tangible evidence we have for the fruits sanctification are faith. That faith gives us courage to run the race. especially when our strength of will and force fail us and we continually finish in last place if we are honest. It is actually worse than this: we stumble and don´t even make the finish line.

    That finish line is reached the day of our death. We keep our eyes on the finish line , and motivated by faith, pick ourselves up again and start all over again, seemingly at the starting gate. We usually don´t even see progress I am saying here.

    Repentence here is a weak and very passive “seeing.” a passive, usually exhaused and completely de-moralized (!) con-fessing.

    Repentance is a de-moral-ization that effects surrender to Christ.

    We can then passively receive his gifts of body and blood and forgiveness with the sure and certain hope of eternal life that those things work “in, with, and under” every Christian who has them as the only sure and certain and visible “Marks” of our salvation that we are given and the only infallible marks, as we gather around them, that we are in fact forgiven, and therefore true Christians.

    The opposite error of Lutheran and biblical truth is this: that Christians are urged and directed to find a regenerate will that is a tangible mark of faith. Pietism, Rome and calvinism all hold up sanctified works or at least the will to do them, and the absence of will to sin, as a tangible sign of being one of the Elect.

    They then call THIS active will sanctification, or a fruit of sanctification, or repentance. Christians then despair when they finally are forced, often by even their discourses with the devil, the world and their own flesh, to confess that ALL their sins are at root willful, and spring always from pure idolatry. The also are forced to confess also that their repentance is incomplete, and not completely honest, even now that they are Christians. The Old Adam clings still to us with ITS will, indistinguishable from our reborn will to the extent that it actually appears, falsely so, to be a very part of our human nature. Therefore not even our regenerate will can safely serve as a “mark” of the church or of being a “true” Christian.

    This usually leads directly to the greatest sin of all, despair. This comes from looking for the visible “marks” that we are saved in the wrong place. We have misplaced our trust. Again idolatry rears it´s head as the root of all sin.

    Who will rescue us from all this indeed!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Frank, how did you get to be such a good theologian?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Frank, how did you get to be such a good theologian?

  • fwsonnek

    #8 Vieth

    From what you know of my personal background Dr Vieth, it should make sense to you that

    A) I have had to think rather deeply about things because the chaos of my life can be urgent, and I know more than a few people as a result who share their chaos with me, and I feel their pain and actually care about that in my better days, so I usally have some explaining to do to them.

    You are a good friend of my former pastor of 14 years. You can tell him to feel free to tell you about how bad it gets for me.

    B) This may make me look like someone who knows something…but

    because my life usually looks like sausage making, and not even good sausage at that (except what I have to assume is true in blind faith) I don´t even trust my best thinking.

    I hope anything wrong with post#7 ( there is probably alot to adjust either in form or substance) will be politely yet boldly corrected by whoever here who is qualified and called to do so. PLEASE! I do not hold that office.

    Besides my BEST thinking got me to where I am today. So theology tires me because theological understanding can´t fix what is wrong with me. Death will eventually do that in completion.

    Today I am still a sinner, and not even a garden-variety one it seems… I wish I was that nice. so… I am left pretty naked without…

    C) Jesus. Author AND Finisher.

    So thanks for keeping things all about Jesus Dr Vieth. I need that more than you can possibly know.

  • fwsonnek

    #8 Vieth

    From what you know of my personal background Dr Vieth, it should make sense to you that

    A) I have had to think rather deeply about things because the chaos of my life can be urgent, and I know more than a few people as a result who share their chaos with me, and I feel their pain and actually care about that in my better days, so I usally have some explaining to do to them.

    You are a good friend of my former pastor of 14 years. You can tell him to feel free to tell you about how bad it gets for me.

    B) This may make me look like someone who knows something…but

    because my life usually looks like sausage making, and not even good sausage at that (except what I have to assume is true in blind faith) I don´t even trust my best thinking.

    I hope anything wrong with post#7 ( there is probably alot to adjust either in form or substance) will be politely yet boldly corrected by whoever here who is qualified and called to do so. PLEASE! I do not hold that office.

    Besides my BEST thinking got me to where I am today. So theology tires me because theological understanding can´t fix what is wrong with me. Death will eventually do that in completion.

    Today I am still a sinner, and not even a garden-variety one it seems… I wish I was that nice. so… I am left pretty naked without…

    C) Jesus. Author AND Finisher.

    So thanks for keeping things all about Jesus Dr Vieth. I need that more than you can possibly know.

  • fwsonnek

    #8 Vieth

    I might add that sometimes we see things through the 20/20 lense of repentance, know something is wrong, and do it anyway!

    This is truly the worst of all possible worlds:

    to know what is right. to know it leads only to death and pain, and to do it anyway. and to do it as though a loaded gun is pointed at your head forcing you. And maybe to do it regularly. To be truly cursed. And in utter fear. Abandoned by God in your cries for deliverance.

    This is THE most painful thing for a conscience to endure and it is hard to overcome the deep shame of this situation and confess this to pastor or fellow christian and so get relief and assurance of forgiveness. We hide. We are at this point in complete unity with our first father and mother´s demoralization.

    Everything is then called into question that once seemed so sure and true. We imagine that there are the fiery swords of the church’s just judgement upon us, standing between us and the Tree of Life. That accusing finger. Not just “you should know better.” No. worse. “You do know better. You did it anyway… and you can´t seem to stop. You therefore are no christian.”

    Despair and demoralization are now our two constant companions. We become the cut off ones.

    This is where ONLY something completely outside of us can help.

    That would be Jesus.

    Here comes The One.

    Who was cut off and became the cursed one for us. Who was abandoned as Sinner by His God. Who we are told became the S in Sin for us as He hung on the cross, a seemingly blasphemous thought. Yet true.

    His apostolic “sent ones” come with the soothing balm of body, blood, water and palm on pate. Here come now the animal skins. Those eons old hand-me-downs worn first by our first father, stiil warm from the death that was necessary to make them “for us”. For you Dr Vieth.

    This gospel covers our deep shame. We are no longer naked object lesson.

    Hidden in these human sinful sent ones, bearing our handed down coverings, He comforts us and assures us that we are His and is in fact hidden in us (sanctification.) even as we are hidden in Him. How could this even be so?

    There is no more intimate relationship between two things other than that that exists between the Persons of the Holy Trinity.

    How can this be so? The word unworthy only begins to describe the implausability of this being possible or true. How can holy dwell it what is so utterly it´s opposite?

    THIS defies my reason or power of word, Dr Veith.

    Only the Cross can explain this kind of persistent, unrelenting , at-all-costs , un-wise (wisdom being learned experience), un-reason-able love.

    And it does this in a way that cannot be fully articulated as you well know personally I am sure, even though it is fully revealed to the nations.

    It can only be truly known, in that way where learning and experience, both collective and personal, are joined into that something other of the Holy Spirit.

    This looks alot like the Holy Liturgy.

    That way of knowing is called Faith or Trust.

    True worship is Trust in Jesus Christ. It makes sense to me now.

    This in turn is just a very pale preview of that otherly picture we see in the Revelation.

    I do long to see that day Dr Veith.

    Come quickly FOR ME Lord!

  • fwsonnek

    #8 Vieth

    I might add that sometimes we see things through the 20/20 lense of repentance, know something is wrong, and do it anyway!

    This is truly the worst of all possible worlds:

    to know what is right. to know it leads only to death and pain, and to do it anyway. and to do it as though a loaded gun is pointed at your head forcing you. And maybe to do it regularly. To be truly cursed. And in utter fear. Abandoned by God in your cries for deliverance.

    This is THE most painful thing for a conscience to endure and it is hard to overcome the deep shame of this situation and confess this to pastor or fellow christian and so get relief and assurance of forgiveness. We hide. We are at this point in complete unity with our first father and mother´s demoralization.

    Everything is then called into question that once seemed so sure and true. We imagine that there are the fiery swords of the church’s just judgement upon us, standing between us and the Tree of Life. That accusing finger. Not just “you should know better.” No. worse. “You do know better. You did it anyway… and you can´t seem to stop. You therefore are no christian.”

    Despair and demoralization are now our two constant companions. We become the cut off ones.

    This is where ONLY something completely outside of us can help.

    That would be Jesus.

    Here comes The One.

    Who was cut off and became the cursed one for us. Who was abandoned as Sinner by His God. Who we are told became the S in Sin for us as He hung on the cross, a seemingly blasphemous thought. Yet true.

    His apostolic “sent ones” come with the soothing balm of body, blood, water and palm on pate. Here come now the animal skins. Those eons old hand-me-downs worn first by our first father, stiil warm from the death that was necessary to make them “for us”. For you Dr Vieth.

    This gospel covers our deep shame. We are no longer naked object lesson.

    Hidden in these human sinful sent ones, bearing our handed down coverings, He comforts us and assures us that we are His and is in fact hidden in us (sanctification.) even as we are hidden in Him. How could this even be so?

    There is no more intimate relationship between two things other than that that exists between the Persons of the Holy Trinity.

    How can this be so? The word unworthy only begins to describe the implausability of this being possible or true. How can holy dwell it what is so utterly it´s opposite?

    THIS defies my reason or power of word, Dr Veith.

    Only the Cross can explain this kind of persistent, unrelenting , at-all-costs , un-wise (wisdom being learned experience), un-reason-able love.

    And it does this in a way that cannot be fully articulated as you well know personally I am sure, even though it is fully revealed to the nations.

    It can only be truly known, in that way where learning and experience, both collective and personal, are joined into that something other of the Holy Spirit.

    This looks alot like the Holy Liturgy.

    That way of knowing is called Faith or Trust.

    True worship is Trust in Jesus Christ. It makes sense to me now.

    This in turn is just a very pale preview of that otherly picture we see in the Revelation.

    I do long to see that day Dr Veith.

    Come quickly FOR ME Lord!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, Frank, you “get” Lutheranism in its depths as well as anyone I have known. (So which of my pastor friends was your pastor?) But it is just what Luther said: To be a true theologian, one needs “oratio, meditatio,tentatio”: prayer, meditation, and spiritual affliction.

    http://www.ctsfw.edu/academics/faculty/pless/pastoral-formation.htm

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, Frank, you “get” Lutheranism in its depths as well as anyone I have known. (So which of my pastor friends was your pastor?) But it is just what Luther said: To be a true theologian, one needs “oratio, meditatio,tentatio”: prayer, meditation, and spiritual affliction.

    http://www.ctsfw.edu/academics/faculty/pless/pastoral-formation.htm

  • fwsonnek

    Whoa. what a great resource from John Pless.

    I have often wondered what was meant by that expression. “oratio, meditatio, tentatio” the “tentatio” always seemed out of place to me in that triad. now i understand. I am right there.

    Naw its the other way around Dr Vieth.

    Lutheranism “gets” people like me. Where else would I go with the mess that is my life?

  • fwsonnek

    Whoa. what a great resource from John Pless.

    I have often wondered what was meant by that expression. “oratio, meditatio, tentatio” the “tentatio” always seemed out of place to me in that triad. now i understand. I am right there.

    Naw its the other way around Dr Vieth.

    Lutheranism “gets” people like me. Where else would I go with the mess that is my life?

  • fwsonnek

    original post

    what is striking to me after re-reading your initial post here Dr Vieth is that our publicly stated faith challenges two extremes. randomness without order (modern art and architecture, true conservative libertarianism and liberal anything goes, and at the same time the overcontrol of totalitarianism. both rightest caudillo fascism and leftist collectivist soviet communism and socialism.

  • fwsonnek

    original post

    what is striking to me after re-reading your initial post here Dr Vieth is that our publicly stated faith challenges two extremes. randomness without order (modern art and architecture, true conservative libertarianism and liberal anything goes, and at the same time the overcontrol of totalitarianism. both rightest caudillo fascism and leftist collectivist soviet communism and socialism.

  • fwsonnek

    Here is a great example of where the rubber meets the road on how a christian might view laws vs. some moral preachments:

    One the sanest commentators in Britain, Matthew Parris, argues against criminalizing anti-gay speech. Good for him. Money quote:

    When seeking to identify proposed legislation of doubtful practical use, it is a useful rule of thumb to watch out for ministers and lobbyists claiming its virtue to be that it will ‘send out a message’ that this or that is socially unacceptable.

    It is as though the criminal law was really just a branch of public service advertising — another way, alongside radio, television and the newspapers, or perhaps direct leafleting, of signalling a recommended set of values to the citizenry…

    When the Theft Act was introduced in 1967, I don’t recall that anyone claimed its value to be that it ‘sent out a message’ that stealing was unacceptable.

    If someone bashes me over the head because I’m gay, I want them prosecuted for assault, not bigotry. They have an absolute right to their bigotry, as I have an absolute right to call them on it.

    But the law should criminalize nothing but specific acts that anyone, regardless of their race, religion, orientation or whatever.

  • fwsonnek

    Here is a great example of where the rubber meets the road on how a christian might view laws vs. some moral preachments:

    One the sanest commentators in Britain, Matthew Parris, argues against criminalizing anti-gay speech. Good for him. Money quote:

    When seeking to identify proposed legislation of doubtful practical use, it is a useful rule of thumb to watch out for ministers and lobbyists claiming its virtue to be that it will ‘send out a message’ that this or that is socially unacceptable.

    It is as though the criminal law was really just a branch of public service advertising — another way, alongside radio, television and the newspapers, or perhaps direct leafleting, of signalling a recommended set of values to the citizenry…

    When the Theft Act was introduced in 1967, I don’t recall that anyone claimed its value to be that it ‘sent out a message’ that stealing was unacceptable.

    If someone bashes me over the head because I’m gay, I want them prosecuted for assault, not bigotry. They have an absolute right to their bigotry, as I have an absolute right to call them on it.

    But the law should criminalize nothing but specific acts that anyone, regardless of their race, religion, orientation or whatever.

  • fwsonnek

    cool quote:

    “Adam Smith’s view was toward accepting human nature as it is and asking what social institutions would allow humankind with that nature to flourish (as Rousseau put it, “men as they are and laws as they should be”).

  • fwsonnek

    cool quote:

    “Adam Smith’s view was toward accepting human nature as it is and asking what social institutions would allow humankind with that nature to flourish (as Rousseau put it, “men as they are and laws as they should be”).

  • fwsonnek

    To me This …..

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2006/04/saint_of_911.html

    is what christian service can look like for a man who happens to be gay.

    frank

  • fwsonnek

    To me This …..

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2006/04/saint_of_911.html

    is what christian service can look like for a man who happens to be gay.

    frank

  • fwsonnek

    Nothing is more practical
    than finding God,
    than falling in love
    in a quite absolute, final way.
    .
    What you are in love with,
    what seizes your imagination,
    will affect everything.
    .
    It will decide what will get you
    out of bed in the morning,
    what you will do with your evenings,
    how you will spend your weekends,
    what you read, who you know,
    what breaks your heart,
    and what amazes you
    with joy and gratitude.
    .
    Fall in love, stay in love,
    and it will decide everything.

  • fwsonnek

    Nothing is more practical
    than finding God,
    than falling in love
    in a quite absolute, final way.
    .
    What you are in love with,
    what seizes your imagination,
    will affect everything.
    .
    It will decide what will get you
    out of bed in the morning,
    what you will do with your evenings,
    how you will spend your weekends,
    what you read, who you know,
    what breaks your heart,
    and what amazes you
    with joy and gratitude.
    .
    Fall in love, stay in love,
    and it will decide everything.

  • fwsonnek

    prayer of Mychal Judge. NYFD chaplain , who was gay, killed in sept 11th.

    Lord , take me where You want me to go,
    let me meet who You want me to meet,
    tell me what You want me to say,
    and keep me out of Your way.

  • fwsonnek

    prayer of Mychal Judge. NYFD chaplain , who was gay, killed in sept 11th.

    Lord , take me where You want me to go,
    let me meet who You want me to meet,
    tell me what You want me to say,
    and keep me out of Your way.

  • http://link Mark18

    Department of Health and Human Services Good mental health is important to everyone. ,

  • http://link Mark18

    Department of Health and Human Services Good mental health is important to everyone. ,


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