Some of you may remember Lori Lewis who occasionally has frequented this blog.  At one point she was all involved in radio and contemporary Christian music, but then she became a confessional Lutheran and an outspoken critic of that musical scene.  More recently she has gotten involved with opera, both as a singer and as a popularizer of that artform via radio and writing.  Her latest project, though, is a webzine entitled  Eveyday Opera.  It’s not  about opera; rather, it… Read more

This is a topic that Lori Lewis asked me to address at her webzine Everyday Opera, trying to help people appreciate all the different literary styles: “I can’t stand all of those flowery descriptions in classic literature. Why don’t the authors just get to the action?” “I don’t like opera with all of that over-the-top emotion.” “Those old writers are just not realistic!” Those are common complaints, but they deserve an answer. First of all, literature is an art form… Read more

What can be said about the federal agencies caught in decadent scandals?  The Secret Service, traditionally known for its probity and integirty, has 11 agents who were in Columbia arranging for the president’s security for a summit meeting getting caught with 21 prostitutes.  The General Services Administration, which handles procurement for the federal government, procured a Las Vegas resort to host a lavish retreat to the tune of $823,000 in taxpayer money.  (And it is coming out that this is… Read more

The seemingly ageless Dick Clark passed away.  He was 82.  Through radio, the long-lived TV dance show “American Bandstand,” his New Year’s Eve specials, and as an overall music impresario, Clark presided over practically the whole gamut of American pop music, from the very beginnings of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1950s through today’s rap music. Here is a good survey of his life and career:  Dick Clark of ‘American Bandstand’ fame dies at 82 – “American Bandstand” introduced… Read more

Sociologist Peter Berger on the influence of the Lutheran parsonage in Germany, particularly in East Germany under Communism: [Chancellor Angela] Merkel [daughter of a Lutheran pastor] and [President Joichim] Gauck [a former Lutheran pastor] share a background of Protestant life in Communist East Germany. To what extent has this background shaped their worldview and their overall lifestyle? I don’t think that I know enough about these two individuals to answer the question—though it is hard to believe that the conditions… Read more

The rumor has been going around that this new liturgy will be replacing Divine Service One in the Lutheran Service Book.   It dates, though, from April 1.  That is to say, April Fool’s Day.  (HT:  Todd Wilken.)  Still, I suspect this order of service will inspire both outrage and the desire to adopt it: OUR SERVICE Setting One GREETING AND AFFIRMATION A MEDLEY OF MOOD-SETTING SONGS is sung. Stand spontaneously during the final Guitar Solo The sign of applause may… Read more

Does our president understand economics? Facing heat for high gasoline prices, President Obama tried to shift the focus to Congress, Republicans and energy traders, calling for legislation that he said would “put more cops on the beat” to crack down on potential manipulation of the oil market. Obama called on Congress to provide more money for regulators and increase penalties for market manipulators. The president, flanked by Treasury SecretaryTimothy F. Geithnerand Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., suggested that traders… Read more

Few people do bad things out of a desire to do something evil.  Rather, they convince themselves that what they are doing is “good.”  And the spirit of self-righteousness, ironically, can lead to the most horrible of sins.  An example is the testimony of the Norwegian mass-murderer, of whose 77 victims, 69 were young people at a youth camp: The Norwegian far-right activist who killed 77 people last year has told a court that he was fighting a battle against… Read more

There is yet another Bible translation.  It’s called The Voice.  The publisher is Thomas Nelson, who also publishes its polar opposite, the King James version.  Here is a story about The Voice from USA Today The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible. The Voice translation is aimed at people who haven’t read the Bible much before and aren’t familiar with church jargon. Nor do words such as angel or apostle. Instead, angel… Read more

Here is a  site that lists everyone who is running for president.  In addition to the Republican and Democratic candidates and a long list of independent candidates, here are the various people running in other parties that have ballot representation in at least one state.  (Are any of you supporting any of these folks and can say why they should be president?): AMERICANS ELECT: Rocky Anderson (Justice-Utah) – Ex-Salt Lake City Mayor, attorney & international human rights activist. Mike Ballantine… Read more

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