Monday, September 29, 2008

Parish Assistance Consultant

The beat goes on: From the latest WELS call report:

Kelm, Rev Paul E -- Parish Assistance Of - Milwaukee WI 09/26/2008

How odd it seems to me as word on the street was SP Schroeder was doing a fine job of rooting out the Church and Change crowd from synodical headquarters. Now we find the esteemed Rev. Kelm is called back to assist congregations in using contemporary worship and reformed sermons. Is he called back to start another spiritual growth program?

Why oh why?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How you worship is how you believe

As we sit in a bit of quietness I thought I would share with you an excellent post on the Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi.

It is sometimes beneficial to peak over the fence and see what our neighbors are doing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parodox of the Lutheran faith

Much has been written on this blog about opposite perspectives on issues ranging from the role of women, fellowship principles, worship practices, sermon writing, and much more. A recent commenter had this to say:

In all our WELS piousness, we always forget a very important factor. WELS is an organization. We are humans. Sinful humans. So was Luther. So are each of our pastors. And in our sinfulness, no matter how biblically-educated we are, we are still limited in our understanding of God's word. We can never begin to know what God meant when he said the many things he did in his gospel. To think we can puts us at his level and into his mind. How blasphemous.

This thought brings me to my current dilemma because in these issues I see a paradox of thinking. In the Bible I see a paradox too. Jesus was both God and man which is the ultimate paradox. The commenter above alluded to the fact that as humans we are finite (limited) and God is infinite (unlimited) (a paradox). So I write as does the WELS and LCMS and others in a finite way about an infinite God. My slogan on this blog has been to be Lutheran is to always point to Christ. The Bible is a holy Book about a holy God read by sinful men (a paradox). Yet this Holy Book is meant to point to Christ. So my perspective as a sinful human being has been to try to have my life and church point to Christ through all things.

Yet, I must confess as Job does:

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. ears heard you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:3, 5-6).

Therefore I see that I need to humble myself and repent of my finite understanding of God. My thinking is not clear on many issues in the WELS. Yet in conversations with WELS pastors, teachers, laypeople, and those on this blog it seems that the WELS (and others) cannot admit to the finite and limited view of God's plan. Don't misunderstand me. I don't believe we are free to do all things. I strongly believe that the historical church should not be abandoned. The Gospel of Christ is not a license to sin even though Luther told his followers to "sin boldly." The Gospel proclaims that we should teach everything that has been commanded and to do this boldly. Yet knowing that the meek shall inherit the earth.

So as I live as a sinner and saint I will embrace the paradox I am living through. I am a Lutheran learning the truths of God, yet as a sinful human being my understanding and knowledge is impaired. I believe that life emerges through death (a paradox) and that is the theology of the cross we must preach. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth stand under the rule of God. In reading Luther I see that the sacred and secular spheres overlap but don't conform to the cut and dry distinctions that my finite mind is hoping to see.

In that respect, I find the debates we WELS love to engage in, to be tedious and trivial. Our "always-right," and "only-ones-who-are-right" attitude is often detrimental to the faith of others.

So this blog will remain a paradox of understanding and it will remain Lutheran as it points to Christ.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

WELS view - it is or isn't a sin to vote for Sarah Palin

What does the WELS believe about the role of women in society?

With the nomination of Sarah Palin as vice-president candidate for the Republican party, the WELS position on the role of women in society should be discussed by WELS pastors and laypeople. Are there any qualified male candidates for this postion? (to possibly be the executive officer of the free world ..over men and women)

The WELS teaching states:

A Christian woman may be convinced that none of the men who are running for a particular office would offer qualified and/or honest service for the benefit of those they represent. If God has given her the gifts to fill such an office well, she may feel the greater harm is to allow less than qualified candidates to fill those positions.

And it has been stated before that if a wife votes against here husband in a political election the woman would be sinning (personal conversation with a WELS DP).

Yet the Q and A site states: Scripture leaves a great deal to our conscientious Christian judgment as we live the role relationship principle in the world.

So my question remains. Does the headship principal apply to roles in society?