A Lutheran Catholic and vocation

Emil AntonOur hosts here in Finland arranged a city tour of Helsinki with Emil Anton.  As he works on his doctorate in theology, he works for a tour company, among other things, and has put together the “Holy Helsinki” tour of religious sites.  But Emil is also quite a Christian thinker himself.  He is a noteworthy author, speaker, and blogger (see this, for which the translator in your browser can give you an extremely rough translation, and this in English).

Emil is a Catholic who loves Luther and Lutheranism.  He says he is the kind of Christian Luther wanted:  an evangelical Catholic, a member of the historic church who, thanks to Luther, understands the Gospel.  Emil is interested in the whole breadth of Christianity.  He reads evangelical authors, such as Ravi Zacharias, and is writing his dissertation on Pope Benedict.  Emil–whose father is Iraqi (an Assyrian Catholic) and whose mother is Finnish and who is married to a Polish woman–is a fascinating model of contemporary Christianity.

Anyway, as he was telling us about the sights of Helsinki, we were also carrying on other conversations.  I commented on how I was struck by the way contemporary Catholic writers were discussing vocation.  Whereas the term “vocation” in a Catholic context used to only refer to the calling to religious orders, I have been seeing it used lately more as Luther used it.  Vatican II documents and papal encyclicals now talk about the “vocation” of laypeople, the “vocation” of marriage, the “vocation” of workers.  More than that, these documents also talk about the concept in ways that reflect the specific content of the Lutheran doctrine of vocation:  God works through human vocations.  The purpose of vocation is to love and serve our neighbors.

Emil said, “Right!  Which brings us to something I want to show you.”  Huh?, I thought.  What can he show me on a city tour in Finland that would bear on the new Catholic understanding of vocation? [Read more…]

Profanity and politics

swearing-294391_640Politicians are now using the whole array of four-letter words in their speeches. President Trump does it, but Democrats seem to be doing it as a purposeful, repeated, and calculated rhetorical ploy.

Why is so much of our political discourse adopting profanity?  What does it mean this this is happening?

Click the link after the jump.  (I won’t quote from the article, since it includes the words that it decries, and this violates the high standards of decorum that characterize this blog!  So don’t click that link if would be offended.) [Read more…]

International Trumpism?

512px-Marine_Le_PenWhat with England’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump, many observers have predicted that a new wave of Trump-like nationalism, rejection of immigration, and economic populism would dominate the global landscape.

Has that happened?  Well, no and yes. . . .

 

Photo of Marine Le Pen by Emmanuel d’Aubignosc (Emmanuel d’Aubignosc) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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Confessional Lutheranism in Finland

Martin_Rautanen_i_Olukonda_1899Imagine that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod suddenly went liberal.  Pastors of every gender and sexual identity, seminaries that ignored the Bible, the gospel replaced by leftwing politics–the whole way.  Also imagine that there were no other church bodies that you could go to instead–no Wisconsin Synod, no Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and, even though this might not be an option for you, hardly any Catholics, Orthodox, Reformed, or Baptists.

There were still some faithful pastors and congregations, carrying on with great courage despite an often hostile church bureaucracy.  But there aren’t any of these near where you live.

The Synod’s Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs), however, are still faithful and confessional.  These RSOs have been officially authorized by the church body to carry out specialized ministries.  They have the right to call pastors.

So these RSOs start holding worship services.  The pastors preside at the Divine Service and offer the Sacraments.  Though you keep your membership in your old congregation with its feminist pastor, you stop attending there on Sunday mornings and instead drive thirty miles each Sunday afternoon to worship with your fellow area conservatives at the offices of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.

This is basically the situation of confessional Lutherans in Finland.  [Read more…]

Will the government shut down?

512px-Important_government_shutdown_notice_for_the_Stature_of_LibertyBack when we had a divided government, with President Bush and a Democratic congress and with President Obama and a Republican Congress, we were always in danger of having the government shut down over an inability of the branches of our government to agree on spending bills.

Now both the presidency and the legislative branch are in Republican hands, but we still are facing a government shutdown.  The ability of the government to fund its operations will cease unless all sides can agree on a spending measure by Friday.

President Trump, who sparked some of the controversy by insisting that his wall with Mexico be funded, has walked back that idea. [Read more…]

All Democrats must now support abortion

512px-Thomas_Perez,_Assistant_Attorney_General_for_Civil_Rights,_official_portraitThe new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, says that all Democratic candidates must support abortion.  Otherwise, they will receive no party money.  This applies also to state and city candidates and is “not negotiable.”

 

Photo of Tom Perez by Department of Justice (http://www.justice.gov/crt/aag_page.php) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons [Read more…]