A painting of “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. . .”

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In researching yesterday’s post on Saying Grace, I came across this painting.  I said to myself, that’s the Lutheran table prayer!

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest

And let these gifts to us be blest.  Amen

I used to look down on this prayer, when I first became a Lutheran, because it sounded just like a children’s prayer.  I do prefer Luther’s Table Prayer given in the Catechism:

The eyes of all look to you, O Lord, and you give them their food at the proper time

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing

Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these your gifts,

Which we receive from your bountiful goodness.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

But I’ve come to appreciate the Common Table Prayer.  It draws on a powerful Lutheran teaching:  Christ’s presence.

Lutheranism is a theology of presence, and this is at the heart of Lutheran Christology:  Christ’s real presence in the Sacrament, yes; but also His omnipresence thanks to the communication of attributes with the Father, so that He is present in the Divine Service, in the world, in vocation, and, yes, with families when they sit down together in His name for a meal.

I had never heard of the artist, Fritz von Uhde (1848-1911).  It turns out that he was a well-regarded German artist and a devout Lutheran.  A pioneer of the realistic style, von Uhde did many works with Christian themes, rendering Biblical scenes with realistic contemporary characters and picturing Christ appearing to common, ordinary folks, including the lower classes and the poor.

This painting, at the Berlin National Gallery, is called “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest.”  This and his other works in this vein (which I think I’ll also blog about)  was criticized by Roman Catholic critics for lacking reverence.  But he is simply portraying the Lutheran theology of Christ’s presence!

After the jump, read what his Wikipedia article says about him. [Read more…]

Is Amazon a monopoly that needs to be broken up?

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Imagine a store whose clientele is not one city but the entire country, if not the world.  And that sells nearly everything–books, electronics, clothing, toys, food.  That is what Amazon.com has become.  Does that constitute a monopoly?

Corporations in a free market often grow until they become monopolies, whereupon the free market ceases to function because there is no longer any competition.  At that point, according to economic theory and government policy, they need to be broken up, so competitive forces can click in again so that the free market functions.

Has Amazon.com reached that state?  Does Amazon.com need to be broken up?

Normally, monopolies, by eliminating competition, raise prices.  But Amazon’s dominance is lowering prices!  Also, Amazon works by giving manufacturers and publishers (including self-publishers) access to customers, providing consumer information about their products and offering inexpensive shipping.  So maybe it’s more like infrastructure.

Economist Douglas Rushkoff, in the article linked after the jump, says that Amazon.com represents a different kind of monopoly in a different kind of free market than that of the industrial revolution.  But he concludes that it is important that Amazon be broken up.

What do you think? [Read more…]

Election billed as referendum on Trump goes for the Republican

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When Georgia congressman Tom Price was named Secretary of Health and Human Services, that opened up a congressional seat and called for a special election.

Democrats thought that the suburban Atlanta district, which went for Trump by a tiny margin, was winnable.  They found an attractive candidate, Jon Ossoff, to run against the Republican Karen Handel and, with the help of out-of-state groups, poured $22 million into supporting him.  Handel spent $14 million, making this the most expensive congressional race in history.

Democrats sought to turn the election into a referendum on Donald Trump and a herald of next year’s midterm elections.

Pollsters saw a close race.  But when it was over, it wasn’t close at all.   The Republican Handel won by 5 percentage points.

If this was a referendum on Trump, the voters are still supporting him.  And if this is a foretaste of the midterm elections, Trump may be in better shape than his poll numbers suggest. [Read more…]

Saying grace

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About half of Americans say grace before meals, according to a new study.  Even 11% of those who don’t believe in religion a
say some sort of grace.  (For regional, ethnic, political, age, and denominational breakdowns, read after the jump.)

Religion journalist Sarah Pulliam Bailey writes about the phenomenon, interviewing a number of different people about why they pray.  An atheist, for example, says that he feels that it is important to express some kind of gratitude.  (But to whom?)

She also cites the Lutheran table prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus. . . .” [Read more…]

Special rights for eccentricity

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More from iconoclast Camille Paglia.  In this interview, she discusses transgenderism–its conflict with feminism, how La Leche League now says men can nurse their babies, how liberals oppose science when it comes to gender, and how “sex changes are impossible.” [Read more…]

Russia threatens to shoot down U.S. planes over Syria

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In the course of supporting a rebel faction battling not only President Assad but ISIS, U.S. fighter planes shot down a Syrian jet.  Now Russia, which supports Assad, is threatening to shoot down American and coalition aircraft.

 

Photo of Russian fighter plane by Vitaly V. Kuzmin (http://vitalykuzmin.net/?q=node/464) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

[Read more…]