June 25, 2019

Today, June 25, is the 489th anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, which sets forth the definitive teachings of Lutheran theology. This is very much a lay document, having been written not by Luther but by the great classical Renaissance scholar Philipp Melanchthon, a layman.  Furthermore, the presenters were regional rulers and the elected representatives of self-governing cities–laymen all–who were confessing their faith to the Holy Roman Emperor, to whom they owed allegiance and who was concerned about… Read more

June 24, 2019

The Peace Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, is a 40-foot cross erected by local residents and the American Legion as a memorial to Americans who died in World War I.  Today it stands on a highway median owned by a state commission.  The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit arguing that the cross’s placement on public land amounts to an unconstitutional establishment of religion.  A lower court agreed, suggesting that the monument either be moved or its cross arms cut off… Read more

June 21, 2019

We just got back from the Outback.  Of the many strange and quirky marvels we saw, the one that haunts me the most is the Dog Fence, also known as the Dingo Fence. Dingoes are voracious predators that can wreak havoc with sheep.  My son-in-law told me that one of his relatives, many generations ago, lost his entire sheep-raising business because of dingo predation.  Back in the 1880s, Australians addressed the problem by building a fence clear across Australia. The… Read more

June 20, 2019

We Christians often speak of non-believers as “lost.”  That is no metaphor today.  For all of the technology that makes our lives easier and more pleasant, many of us–non-believers but probably some believers as well–feel that their lives and existence itself are meaningless. I came across a fascinating description and analysis of today’s angst-ridden mindset.  It’s at what seems to be a self-help site, with its authors going just by their first names.  (I know, I know.)  But it’s worth… Read more

June 19, 2019

The Barna Research Group, in conjunction with Abilene Christian University, has published a study entitled  Christians at Work.  It demonstrates that Christians’ awareness of the doctrine of vocation seems to have grown considerably over the past few years.  But I’m not sure the researchers or the subjects fully “get” the concept. According to a summary, 50% of Millennials, 39% of Generation X-ers, and 37% of Baby Boomers say that “I feel ‘made for’ or ‘called’ to the work I currently do.” … Read more

June 18, 2019

Chris Arnade studied the most destitute and seemingly hopeless Americans–street people, addicts, prostitutes, the wretchedly poor, the “underclass,” people often referred to as the “dregs of society”–searching for the shreds of human dignity that they still have by getting to know them.  And a funny thing happened:  He came to faith. From a review by Kathryn Jean Lopez of Arnade’s book Dignity: Seeing Respect in Back Row America: After attending “hundreds of different services [with his subjects in the course of… Read more

June 17, 2019

Catholic scholar Daniel J. Mahoney has written a book entitled The Idol of Our Age:  How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity.  It argues that the humanitarian notion of compassion has displaced the Christian understanding of compassion, grounded in Divine Mercy and Christian love. From Chandler Lasch’s review, “Why ‘The Idol of Our Age’ Resonates with Readers”: The humanitarian version of compassion is, Mahoney said, motivated by a desire to be nice to other people and understand their perspectives. While… Read more

June 14, 2019

The Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is charged with studying and coming to conclusions on theological issues.  Its latest report is a discussion of social media.  You might wonder, how is the topic of how we use social media technology theological?  But it is. The CTCR, which took on the assignment at the behest of the synodical convention, released the 30-page report entitled A Snapshot of Trending Tools: Christians and Social Media.  (You… Read more

June 13, 2019

A couple of years ago we blogged about how Pope Francis wanted to change the Lord’s Prayer.  Well, he has done it, at least for the Italian liturgy.  And here we see the problem with the papacy. The Pope objects to the Sixth Petition:  “And lead us not into temptation.”  God doesn’t tempt us, the Pope says, so he has had the wording changed to say, “do not let us fall into temptation.” This is being presented as just a… Read more

June 12, 2019

The Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Paprocki, has issued a decree barring the leadership of the state legislator and Catholic lawmakers who voted for one of the most radically pro-abortion laws in the country from receiving Holy Communion. He did so with some excellent language describing just how great a sin that abortion is. From the Catholic News Agency (my bolds): “In accord with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law…Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House… Read more

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