ELCA elects a gay bishop

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (not to be confused with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, or other more conservative Lutheran bodies) has elected its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. R. Guy Erwin, who will lead ELCA congregations in the Los Angeles area.   The ELCA only approved gay pastors two years ago, which was when Rev. Erwin, a theology professor at Cal Lutheran, was ordained.  Is it usual in the ELCA to rise in the ranks from newly-ordained pastor to bishop in only two years?  (The ELCA has adopted an episcopal polity and claims apostolic succession through the Swedish church.)

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Dodging tornadoes

Oklahoma City and surrounding communities were struck by multiple tornadoes Friday night, killing nine people.  This was only 11 days after an EF-5 tornado hit Moore (a southern suburb of OKC).  We were in northeast Oklahoma, a long way from the tornadoes that made the news, for my father’s funeral.  But our county too had three tornadoes.  The funeral was in the morning, but that night the tornado sirens went off three times and we had to scramble to find shelter. [Read more…]

The Visitation

How I dreaded the “visitation.”  Having to see my father’s dead body.  Having to meet and greet well-wishers while being in a highly emotional state.   What a horrible ordeal this is going to be, I thought.  And yet, the visitation on Thursday night was strangely healing.  I’m not sure why, but it was.  I do have some ideas, though. [Read more…]

What is a dog worth?

If a dog is killed through someone’s negligence, is the owner entitled to compensation for just the monetary value of the animal (usually not much) or also for the “sentimental value” that come from the owner’s emotional attachment to the pet?  After all, family heirlooms–such as your grandfather’s watch or a piece of jewelry that has been handed down from generation to generation–can have a claimed value greater than the material cost.  Why not a family pet?

The Texas Supreme Court just ruled on this matter.  What do you think it ruled?  What do you think it should have ruled?  Think about that, then after the jump read about the court’s decision and George Will’s account of the case.  Do you agree with what he says about it? [Read more…]

Stephen King on Intelligent Design and God

Stephen King is the living master of horror fiction and a pretty darned good writer by any standard.  NPR has an interesting interview with him on the occasion of his new novel, Joyland (which sounds like a good one), in which he affirms his belief in Intelligent Design. [Read more…]

Two kinds of funerals

Funerals being on my mind lately, I offer you an essay I wrote that was published in  Table Talk.  It is entitled “A Tale of Two Funerals.” [Read more…]