Dispatch from Denmark

I am now in Copenhagen, where I have an internet connection.  The conference I spoke at was held at an Inner Mission Bible college, where Christian young people go after they graduate from high school and before they go to University.  Here they study Christian doctrine, the Bible, and apologetics in a way designed to help them withstand the onslaught on their faith that they will soon encounter.  I think that’s a very good thing to do.

This week all of the students went on a mission trip to Ethiopia, where they will work with Mekane Yesus, one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world that has just left the liberal Lutheran World Fellowship and is working to rebuild its theological infrastructure (with the help of the LCMS).  So the 150 or so Inner Mission workers and I stayed in their dorms, which do not have internet.  (“While they are here,” I was told, “we want them to concentrate on God.”   Another good idea.)

So I wasn’t able to blog about a lot of topics that came up.  Nancy Reagan’s death.  More primaries.  More controversies.  More craziness.

I’m always being asked about the American elections and Donald Trump.  The Danes realize whether they like it or not–and whether we like it or not–that the United States really does play an important role in the world and that the President of the United States really is the leader of the free world.  They can’t imagine Trump–with his belligerence against other countries, his ignorance, and his hostile personality–playing that role.

In defense of my country, I explained that the American people are frustrated with politicians of both parties.  Republicans are rebelling against the establishment by voting for Trump; Democrats are rebelling against the establishment by voting for Bernie Sanders.  The Danes could understand that and can sort of  share that feeling.  But Trump would be a disaster, which I had to agree with.

They were very amused that Sanders wants to make the United States like Denmark.  They seemed to understand, if Sanders and his supporters don’t, that it’s not that simple.

I’ve been learning a lot about Christianity in Denmark, which many observers dismiss as purely secularist.  Not so.  These Christians are zealous, creative, and very Lutheran. [Read more…]

Back to Denmark

Last Fall, as some of you will remember, I spent a couple of weeks on a speaking tour of Scandinavia. (See the series of posts including this one and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one.)  I was invited back.  Tomorrow I catch a plane to Denmark, where I will be giving a series of lectures at a big Inner Mission conference.  So I’m excited about that.

What about the blog while I’m gone?  I’m not sure of my access to the internet all of the time, and the time difference will be crazy.  But I should be able to give dispatches from time to time.

In addition, I have written a number of posts ahead of time, and they’ll be scheduled to come up during the week that I’ll be gone.  In fact, I have a series of posts on this blog’s great theme of VOCATION (what else?) that I think will interest you.

So stay tuned and say a prayer for me from time to time.   So Farvel og Gud velsigne dig!

The vocation of a teenager

Vocation is in the here and now, and it’s something all Christians have.  It doesn’t mean just “job” but refers to the arenas God brings us to for love and service to our neighbor.  So teenagers aren’t just preparing for a vocation in the future; rather, they can love and serve now.

Scott Keith, at the Jagged Word (a multi-author blog you should keep up with, affiliated with 1517: The Legacy Project), has written a great piece about his daughter Autumn and her service (to which I have a personal connection), along with misunderstandings people have about a teenager’s vocation. [Read more…]

I am now on Facebook!

There is this thing called Facebook, and the way it works is. . . .OK, I’m not what you would call an early adopter.  But at the urging of students (you, Thomas Hererra!), Patheos, relatives, and the climate of the age, I now have a Facebook page.

It’s a writer’s page, like those they have for businesses, so it’s public and open for all.  It works not by “friends” but by “likes.”  Please “like” it.  My page will have links to my blog posts, so those who “like” my page will get those links, as will your “friends” and their “friends” and the Cranach nation will grow and grow.

But I’m not just going to post links to my blog.  I will take you inside the vast Cranach empire, talking about blog-related background information, and also talking about my other books, articles, projects, and speaking gigs.  You will also see what I approximately look like, though before I got my current cooler glasses.

As I say in the introductory piece on my Facebook page, I also want to hear from you.  If you come across an interesting article or bit of information, send me the link via Facebook.  Or if you think of a good topic for our discussion, send me your suggestions.  I want to build up the sense of community that we used to have on my blog.  I’ve got some other ideas for what I’d like to do with this page, which I’ll tell you about later. [Read more…]

Earthquake alley

I was watching TV around 10:30 on Wednesday night when I thought one of  grandkids–we were hosting a sleepover–was shaking my chair.  I reached around to grab the culprit, but there was no one there.  Then it happened again.  Then the other adults in our living room, including some Californians, said “Earthquake!” [Read more…]

Happy 2016!

Happy New Year!  This is the day we look forward and contemplate the year ahead, making resolutions about the changes we’d like to make and planning for the future.

Along with the custom of making New Year’s resolutions is the custom of saying that they are futile, what with the bondage of the will and everything.  But we don’t have to invest them with big moral significance, nor turn them into grandiose self-improvement exercises with little chance of lasting.  Changes happen over the course of the year, and we might as well direct a few of them. [Read more…]