Honor a veteran today

Today, 11/11/11, is Veterans Day, a time to be thankful for the military vocations.  Use this space in a comment to honor a veteran you know.

I’ll go first:  My father-in-law, one of those Marines who fought at Iwo Jima.

The marvel of Christ’s service to us

In his All Saints Day sermon that is worth reading in itself, our pastor, Rev. Douthwaite, read a great quotation from Luther:

“There is no greater bondage than that of sin; and there is no greater service than that displayed by the Son of God, who becomes the servant of all, no matter how poor, wretched, or despised [we] may be, and bears [our] sins. It would be spectacular and amazing, prompting all the world to open ears and eyes, mouth and nose in uncomprehending wonderment, if some king’s son were to appear in a beggar’s home to nurse him in his illness, wash off his filth, and do everything else the beggar would have to do. Would this not be profound humility? Any spectator or any beneficiary of this honor would feel impelled to admit that he had seen or experienced something unusual and extraordinary, something magnificent. But what is a king or an emperor compared with the Son of God? Furthermore, what is a beggar’s filth or stench compared with the filth of sin which is ours by nature, stinking a hundred thousand times worse and looking infinitely more repulsive to God than any foul matter found in a hospital? And yet the love of the Son of God for us is of such magnitude that the greater the filth and stench of our sins, the more He befriends us, the more He cleanses us, relieving us of all our misery and of the burden of all our sins and placing them upon His own back. All the holiness of the [world] stinks in comparison with this service of Christ, the fact that the beloved Lamb, the great Man, yes, the Son of the Exalted Majesty, descends from heaven to serve me” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 22, p. 166).

via St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: All Saints Sermon.

Child abuse, firings, and riots at Penn State

In the aftermath of the child sexual abuse perpetrated by football coach Jerry Sandusky, Penn State fired both legendary head coach Joe Paterno AND the college president Graham Spanier.  Whereupon students went on a riot:

Happy Valley was in bedlam early today as angry, chanting students ran amok in a bizarre climax to an unforgettable day that ended with the unthinkable: the firing of football legend Joe Paterno.

Chanting “Joe Pa-ter-no!” and “One More Game!” students raced to the stately Old Main administration building to express their anger that the winningest coach in major-college football history was out – fallout from the child-sex scandal involving his former top assistant, Jerry Sandusky.

More than 1,000 students rioted and rallied at Old Main and on frat-house-lined Beaver Avenue. Riot cops, fire trucks and ambulances were on hand after midnight, amid reports that tear gas was being used to disperse the crowd.

Demonstrators overturned a TV news van, toppled street lights, shook stop signs and threw toilet paper. From rooftops and in the streets, they yelled “F— Sandusky!” and “We Want JoePa!”

The campus chaos began shortly after 10 p.m. with the announcement by the board of trustees that Paterno, 84, who had said earlier in the day that he would retire at the end of the season, was instead fired over the phone and denied a chance to end his career on the playing field.

The trustees also accepted a letter of resignation from longtime president Graham Spanier, who was making $800,000 a year at the end of a 16-year run in which he’d raised the academic profile of the state’s largest academic institution.

As for reports of campus unrest at Paterno’s ouster, John Surma, vice chairman of the board of trustees, said he hoped everyone would realize that the board’s action was for the best: “Because of the difficulties that engulfed our university – and they are grave – it was necessary to make a change in leadership.”

It was the shock-and-awe conclusion to a day of bombshells that made Penn State’s hometown feel less like a bucolic mountainside oasis of pigskin-flavored academia and more like a foreign capital in the throes of revolution.

via Bedlam erupts on Penn State campus | Philadelphia Daily News | 11/10/2011.

From this news report, it appears that some of the students were rioting in support of Paterno, while others may have been rioting over the sexual abuse.  So people with opposite causes were rioting together.  How monstrous this all is.

Perry’s last gaffe?

I didn’t watch the last Republican presidential candidate debate, but it sounds like Perry’s performance was out and out embarrassing:

On Wednesday night in Michigan, Perry said he would cut three agencies from the federal government but could only name two of them.

“Commerce, Education and the – what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said before his rivals volunteered the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pollution and is very unpopular with conservatives.

Later in the debate, Perry said he meant to say the Energy Department was the third agency he would eliminate. But it was too late. The awkard pause was out there for all to see.

via Perry: Debate gaffe won’t break my campaign – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Now who are you supporting?

Can natural gas ignite the economy?

New technology is unlocking vast amounts of natural gas in the United States, enough to have a huge economic impact.  Yes, it involves “fracking,” the controversial practice of pumping chemical-laced water into shale deposits, but improvements in that technique are starting to satisfy all but the most zealous environmentalists.  I’m glad to see companies from my native Oklahoma are leading the way.  Businessweek has a big story on the topic with the deck below the headline, “Unlocking vast reserves of shale gas could solve the energy crisis, the jobs crisis, and the deficit.”

“The United States,” [energy company CEO Aubrey] McClendon boasts, “has the capacity to become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

A tall man who wears his wavy silver hair long by CEO standards, McClendon, 52, exudes the confidence of someone who’s certain he’s seen the future. Exploitation of newly accessible supplies of gas embedded in layers of what’s known as shale rock, he predicts, will help revive domestic manufacturing and change the terms of debate about global warming. “It’s a new industrial renaissance,” he says. . . .

Encouraged by the availability of inexpensive and cleaner domestic gas, some electric utilities are replacing their coal-burning capacity with gas-fired units. Energy-intensive manufacturers of chemicals, plastics, and steel are beginning to bring home operations that they exported years ago. “We believe natural gas must be part of any discussion on strengthening our country’s long-term economic health,” Mulva said in Detroit. “It should also be part of any discussion on improving energy security, protecting the environment, and, yes, creating jobs.”

On the economic potential of the nascent shale revolution, even some career environmentalists sound impressed, if cautious. “This thing is a potential game-changer,” says Fred Krupp, president of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Shale production in the U.S. has increased from practically nothing in 2000 to more than 13 billion cubic feet per day, or about 30 percent of the country’s natural gas supply. That proportion is heading toward 50 percent in coming years. The U.S. passed Russia in 2009 to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas. An Energy Dept. advisory panel on which Krupp sits estimated in August that more than 200,000 jobs, both direct and indirect, “have been created over the last several years by the development of domestic production of shale gas.” At a moment of 9.1 percent unemployment nationally, additional decently paid work is just one potential benefit. “Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, emits less in the way of greenhouse gases, and avoids mercury and other pollutants from coal,” Krupp points out. “So this could be win-win, if—and this is a big ‘if’—we do it the right way.”

via Could Shale Gas Reignite the U.S. Economy? – Businessweek.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

I’ve had some posts about Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson and the successor to D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.  He is a significant evangelical pastor who credits Lutherans (e.g., Bo Giertz; Harold Senkbeil; Rod Rosenbladt) for helping him to understand the full magnitude of the Gospel.  He has written a book about all of this–including how it impacted him as he went through some difficult times in his ministry–entitled  Jesus + Nothing = Everything.

I was asked to write a blurb for it, as were many others, including other evangelicals who resonate with what he has written.  They are all worth reading in themselves.  (Read them on the Amazon site that this post links to.)  I will just quote myself and Dr. Rosenbladt, whose work I also blogged about recently:

“Many Christians today assume that the gospel just has to do with conversion, for way back when they first came to faith. They have lost the sense, well known to Christians of the past, that the gospel is for every moment of their lives. As a result, they often fall into a moralism that can be, as this book shows, just as idolatrous, self-focused, and godless as immorality. This book shows how the good news of free forgiveness in the cross of Jesus Christ is the driving energy that makes the Christian life possible. Pastor Tchividjian tells about how he himself discovered the full magnitude of God’s grace in the midst of difficult times in his own ministry. He does so in a way that will bring relief, exhilaration, and freedom to struggling Christians.”
Gene Edward Veith Jr., provost, professor of Literature, Patrick Henry College; director, Cranach Institute, Concordia Theological Seminary; columnist; author

“In a powerful, concise, and popular style, Tchividjian announces, explicates, defends, and contrasts the gratuitous gospel of Christ’s person and work with the oft-misheld conviction of us sinners that, if we are somehow to be justified, it will have to be a matter of ‘making up for’ our offenses and of inward improvement. Chapter-by-chapter he argues that God’s saving plan is one of grace and not one of improvement. Filled with illustrations from his life as a pastor, this is no unapproachable, academic tome. But neither, thank God, is it today’s ‘Evangelical silly!’ Tchividjian wrestles openly with demons and their central lie in order that we truly ‘get’ what the Bible is really about. From every point on the compass, he contrasts ‘moral renovation’ with a free, one-sided rescue drenched in the blood of Jesus. Good news for everyone—but especially for Christians who are worn out by trying the other way, believing the lie, somehow knowing renovation isn’t working but knowing nowhere else to turn. Tchividjian is out to convince his reader that justification before God really is pure gift, is free, is by grace and through faith in Christ. . . sola!”
Rod Rosenbladt, professor of theology, Concordia University

via Amazon.com: Jesus + Nothing = Everything (9781433507786): Tullian Tchividjian: Books.


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