Dispatch from Finland

640px-Luther_Church,_Helsinki,_insideWe are in Finland, safe and sound.  We are having a good and fascinating time.  The church situation here is complicated, but don’t believe what you hear about the utter secularism of Scandinavia.  We are meeting some very vibrant and very solid Lutheran Christians who are true inspirations.  And, yes, they are reaping lots of Muslim converts to Christianity.  But I’ll tell you more when I get back.

Thanks for sticking with the blog while I’m gone.  I may be able to post more than I thought I could.

 

Photo of Luther Church, a confessional congregation attended by over 200 people each Sunday by Abc10 – Oma teos, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49178504

I’m off to Finland

Helsinki_from_sea_with_Cathedral_and_Finnair_SkywheelToday my wife and I fly off to Finland.  I will be giving lectures at an apologetics conference and speaking at two universities.  I’ll also be meeting with the confessional Lutherans there, including Rev. Jujana Puhjola.

Earlier, I was in Denmark and Norway, and then Denmark again.  As I said then, the image of the secularist Scandinavians is not completely true.  I have been meeting lots of very devoted Christians.  My book Spirituality of the Cross has been translated into the Scandinavian languages and it’s getting some readers.  I am touched at the thought that I might be used in some measure to be part of a revival of Christianity–indeed, Lutheran Christianity–among the delightful people in these fascinating countries.

So what does this mean for the blog?  I am not going to take away from my Scandinavian moments by constantly monitoring the internet and blogging all the time.  I am not sure of my internet connections, seeing as how at least part of the time I’ll be in the deep woods.  But I’ll post when I can.  I probably won’t be able to post as many items every day.  There may be days when I don’t post any at all.  But I’ve got some very interesting posts scheduled to come up through the week.  I’ll be back in the states the first of May.

You might say a prayer for us from time to time.

 

Photograph of Helsinki with Lutheran Cathedral and Finnair Skywheel by Kotivalo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Live-blogging the Inauguration

Trump_Inaugural_Logo.svgBeing unable to resist significant moments in history, I’ll be watching the Inauguration ceremonies today and making comments here.

Things get started at 9:30 a.m. ET, with the actual inauguration ceremony starting at about 11:30 a.m. ET.  The swearing in will be at noon, whereupon Donald Trump will give his inaugural address.  I’ll be devoting most of my live-blogging to the speech.  Please join me with comments of your own.

On Saturday from 10:00-11:00 a.m. will be the Interfaith Prayer Service at the National Pantheon, I mean, the National Cathedral.  I can’t bear to watch that, but if you do, feel free to report on it by making a comment to this post.

After the jump, a schedule of the day’s activities.

UPDATE:  Here is a transcript of the speech.

[Read more…]

Top 10 Cranach posts of 2016

Cranach's sealI know you are sick of holidays and want to get back to normality, but I can’t resist New Years retrospectives.  Other blogs are looking back at their top posts of last year, based on the number of page views, so I did too.

The most popular posts are from years ago, but somehow they got into Google’s algorithm.  Now, if anybody in the whole world wonders, “Why do some people say ‘Merry Christmas’ and others say ‘Happy Christmas’?” Google takes them to Cranach.  The same with St. Patrick’s prayer.  And I think my post on Hector & Achilles must be linked on a study guide somewhere.

Otherwise, the election, particularly the Republican primaries, dominated our readers’ interests.  I’m glad my review of the memoir by Tom Oden, who died later in the year, got quite a bit of attention.

Pageviews on a particular post go up because they are linked to on other web sites and because they are widely shared on social media.  So I’m glad our discussions here can have a reach beyond our blog.

See the top 10 posts after the jump. [Read more…]

Happy New Year!

Thank you to all of my readers for being part of this blog last year.  Many blessings for 2017!

Here is what you can do:  Use the comments for this post to give your New Year’s resolutions.  Then you can come back next year and check them to see how you did.  Well, I can see that you might not want to do that.  Happy New Year anyway!

 

new-years-day-1931728_640

 

Image from Pixabay, Creative Commons, Public Domain

 

Make your predictions for 2017

3706551411_cd226727fe_zNow it is time to look forward, to speculate about what this new year will bring.

Lots of question marks hover over 2017.  Will Donald Trump make America great again, or will his presidency prove to be a major fiasco?  Will the economy boom or will it collapse?  Will Christianity thrive or be declared a hate crime?  Will the pendulum start swinging back, or will the sexual revolution keep going further?

But these are big issues.  When we check the predictions at the end of 2017 in our annual contest, the winning guesses tend to be highly specific and seemingly unlikely at the time.   You can make all the predictions you want and your mistakes won’t be held against you, so feel free to take risks and make outside-the-box projections.  (This is speculation, not prophecy, so the Deuteronomy 18 rule will not be in effect.)

Yesterday we reviewed the predictions for 2016, so that will give you an idea about how our little contest works.

Let us begin:  What do you think will happen in 2017?

 

Image by Duncan Hall, “Envision Your Future,” Creative Commons License