April 8, 2019

Amazon Prime is producing a television series based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, drawing on the author’s voluminous tales of his imaginary world. Amazon paid the Tolkien estate $250 million for the rights, and the budget for the series is reportedly $1 billion, making it the most expensive project in television history. The production is underway, and the show is slated to be released for streaming on Prime in 2021.  Five… Read more

April 6, 2019

April 6 is the Day of Commemoration in the Lutheran calendar for artists Lucas Cranach (1472-1557) and Albrecht Dürer (b. 1471, who died on April 6, 1528).  (Anglicans honor them, along with Matthias Grünewald, on August 5).  Since Cranach is the patron of this blog, we need to celebrate today! These Christian artists not only made significant contributions to Western art, they also expressed the faith and the worldview of the Reformation. Rev. Joshua Pfeiffer, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Adelaide, Australia,… Read more

April 5, 2019

Knud Skov, a confessional Lutheran from Denmark, sent me an essay that he had written about the origins of current assumptions about oppression, sex, and gender.  I thought that what he says about the Frankfurt School, Michel Foucault, and Judith Butler would be of interest to all of my readers.  He gave me permission to post the essay in its entirety. Knud works with Lutheran Mission, an Inner Mission organization (recall my blog posts about Scandinavian Christianity).  He is a… Read more

April 4, 2019

Writer and radio host Dennis Prager has written a hilarious–but also dead serious–essay entitled How the Left Keeps Me Religious. Prager, who is Jewish, said that he isn’t a particularly “spiritual” person.  But that the Godless left puts forward such absurd beliefs, is so morally blind, and is so creatively bankrupt, that he has become convinced that there must be a God after all, and that religion–which has a far better record–must be true. Read the whole essay, published by National… Read more

April 3, 2019

The United States of America is not a democracy.  And it was never supposed to be.  Our constitutional order has built in protections against majority rule, lest the greater numbers run roughshod over individuals, minorities, and holders of unpopular ideas.  Among those safeguards against democracy are the electoral college, the Senate, the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court.  Currently, Democratic presidential candidates, in accord with the name of their party, are calling for all of these constitutional protections to… Read more

April 2, 2019

The magazine Interest Time has a special issue on vocation.  The lead article “Vocation: How God Provides for Us” by Demian Farnworth is an excellent introduction to the concept.  The issue also includes an interview with me, in which, among other things, I tell how I first discovered vocation. Interest Time is a publication of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), a financial services organization that handles savings and investments for congregations and their members and that provides loans for church… Read more

April 1, 2019

I heard Gram Parsons’ song “In My Hour of Darkness” on the radio the other day and it has been haunting me ever since. Parsons was the Sixties musician who discovered traditional country music, bringing the two genres together through his involvement with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, thus pioneering country rock, alternative country, and the Outlaw Country channel on Sirius FM, which put the song into my head.  (Never mind that rock music had its origins in country… Read more

March 29, 2019

The European Union has passed a new copyright law that has the potential to fundamentally change–if not eliminate–the internet as we have known it. Article 11 of the EU Copyright Directive targets the big news aggregators like Google News and The Drudge Report.  It would require them to pay the sources they link to.  The law imposes what is being called a “snippet tax” for excerpting copyrighted material and even  a “link tax” for linking to it.  The fees are not… Read more

March 28, 2019

The old Farmers and Merchants Bank building in Boley, Oklahoma, is being restored, thanks to a grant from the National Park Service.  The building had been put on the National Registry of Historic Places not only because it was the first black-owned bank but also because of the way the community of Boley–thanks to the Second Amendment–thwarted its robbery and helped bring down Pretty Boy Floyd. Boley, located between Oklahoma City and Muskogee, was founded by Creek Freedmen; that is,… Read more

March 27, 2019

My daughter Mary Moerbe, at her blog Meet, Write, and Salutary,  alerted me to a remarkable and potentially invaluable web resource:  A Collection of Prayers:  Christian Prayers, Ancient and Modern. It’s a collection of some 1200 prayers, from every century and a wide range of Christian traditions.  They are all in the public domain.  They are suitable for private devotion and for public worship.  (Pastors busy preparing for all of the worship services you have to plan for Lent and… Read more

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