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Archive for March, 2007

Are Lutherans pulling their weight on the federal level?

March 8th, 2007 3 comments

Some commenting on Dr. Netto’s post have protested his use of statistics and have, as per the usual, found ways to discount some rather dramatic facts. He responded to one of the comments and shared it with me. I found it interesting:

Please find below a good sample of faith groups plus in brackets their membership figures and behind the slash the number of congressmen and senators of their respective religious persuasions.

Lutherans, all (9 million/18)
Methodists, all (9 million/62)
Presbyterians, all (3.9 million/43)
Jews, including non-practicing (5.2 million/43)
Episcopalians (2.2 million/37)
Christian Scientists (ca. 150,000-400,000/5).

I could go on until the cows come home but perhaps this might suffice. So if you are still convinced Lutherans are pulling their weight politically on the federal level, you might want to think again.

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Ashes or No Ashes?

March 8th, 2007 Comments off

Pastor Cwirla offers a spirited commentary on the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday.

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Fan of the Cardinals! You bet, but not these guys

March 7th, 2007 11 comments

Cardinalmccain
Apparently there has been a serious misunderstanding. I told a friend I was a fan of the Cardinals and he took that remark to heart to a disturbing degree!  I don’t know if red is my color, or not. My wife looked at it and after laughing hysterically for a moment said, "You look good as a Catholic." I’m not sure how to take that remark.

OK, let me make this point clear. I’m a fan of these Cardinals. Mlbcardinals

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Sitting in the Back Pews of Life

March 6th, 2007 15 comments

Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto hits another one out of the park with his well-placed salvo against Lutheran "minimalism." I share his frustration. The very things that Lutheranism have that make it stand out in the crowded "marketplace" of American denominationalism are the very things that so many non-Lutherans find attractive, while cradle Lutherans sometimes seem determined to minimize or ignore them! What are we so embarassed about? The incessant self-loathing and self-depricating attitudes we display toward the treasure of doctrine and practice that is historic, Biblical and faithful Lutheranism is truly distressing to observe. I’m taking Dr. Netto’s remarks a bit further than he does in this article, but he makes reference to this problem in passing with his comment about Lutheran music. Here are Dr. Netto’s thoughts:

(This commentary is scheduled to be published in the April 2007 issue of the Reporter)

Theologically, there is really nothing objectionable about the
idiosyncratic preference of many Lutherans for the back pews in church.

  I am sure that God does not care one iota where you sit during the
Sunday service, as long as this does not reflect unchristian prejudices
or a lack of interest in worship. Perhaps the spiritual right-hand
kingdom provides us with a foretaste of life beyond time and space. So
stay in the rear if that’s where you want to be.

That said, does this principle also apply to the left-hand realm
where we live out our biological lives using natural reason to guide
us? Do we, who are called to engage this world, have the right to loll
on the back pews of our secular reality?

Read more…

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“Concordia” in Madagascar

March 5th, 2007 Comments off

Professor John Pless and Rev. Matthew Harrison, with several other LCMS folks, were in Madagascar recently. Seminarians accompanying Professor Pless on the trip helped him haul over many copies of "Concordia" Here are some photos of their distribution. A Madagascar pastor said, "This is the best gift you could have given us." I was told that in one of the city churches there, the Lutherans have several services on Sunday morning and each service has upwards of 5,000 people in attendance using beautiful Lutheran liturgy and hymnody. They asked if The LCMS were going to send missionaries to them. They were asked when they are going to send missionaries to us!
Click on the photos for the full version of them.

Concordia_in_madagascar_1

Concordia_delivery

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Thoughts on the Problems with Internet Theological Conversations

March 5th, 2007 1 comment

Pastor William Cwirla, posted some good thoughts:

If you haven’t seen The Truman Show,
a 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey, go out and rent it.  It’s a clever
movie in which the main character named Truman Burbank is the unknowing
star of an ongoing virtual reality TV show called “The Truman
Channel.”  Adopted at birth by a television corporation, and raised on
a set built as a town on an isolated island where even the weather is
controlled, the show is the ultimate piece of performance art directed
by none other than Cristof, the performance artist.  Truman’s real life
is a virtual world watched by millions every day.  Everyone around him,
including his wife, is an actor playing a scripted role.

Read more…

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New Stats from the National Council of Churches

March 5th, 2007 Comments off
Only three mainline Protestant churches are
among the ten largest churches. The United Methodist Church, ranked 3,
reports a membership of 8,075,010; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ranked 7 with a membership of 4,850,776), and the Presbyterian
Church, USA (ranked 9 with a membership of 3,098,842). All three
churches declined in membership since the 2005 Yearbook was released.
Pentecostal
churches have experienced "remarkable" growth, says Editor Lindner [of the NCC Yearbook]. For
example, the Assemblies of God reported a membership of 50,386 in the
1925 edition of the Yearbook. This year, its reported membership is
2,830,861.
The
2007 Yearbook reports the largest 25 denominations/communions in the
U.S. (noting an increase or decrease in membership since the 2006
Yearbook reports).
1. The Catholic Church, 69,135,254 members, reporting an increase of 1.94 percent.
2. The Southern Baptist Convention, 16,270,315 members, reporting a increase of .02 percent.
3. The United Methodist Church, 8,075,010 members, reporting a decrease of 1.36 percent.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,690,672 members, reporting an increase of 1.63 percent.
5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no increase or decrease reported.
6. National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., 5,000,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,850,776, reporting a decrease of 1.62 percent.
8. National Baptist Convention of America, 3,500,000, no increase or decrease reported.
9. Presbyterian Church (USA), 3,098,842 members, reporting a decrease of 2.84 percent.
10. Assemblies of God, 2,830,861 members, reporting an increase of 1.86 percent.
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
13. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
14. The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,440,864, reporting a decrease or .93 percent.
15. Episcopal Church, 2,247,819, reporting a decrease of 1.59 percent.
16.
Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, reporting an increase of 9.30
percent (This increase reports the church’s growth since its last
reported figures in 1999.)
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
18. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,440,405 members, reporting an increase of .53 percent.
20. American Baptist Churches in the USA, 1,396,700, reporting a decrease of 1.97 percent.
21. United Church of Christ, 1,224,297, reporting a decrease of 3.28 percent.
22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International, 1,200,000, no increase or decrease reported.
23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 1,071,615 members, no increase or decrease reported.
24. The Orthodox Church in America, 1,064,000 members, reporting an increase of 6.40 percent.
25. Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1,046,006 members, reporting a decrease of 1.56 percent.
The total members reported in the largest 25 communions is 149,222,807, an overall increase of .82 percent.
The 2007 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches costs $50 and may be ordered at www.electronicchurch.org
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Common Sense for Clowns

March 4th, 2007 2 comments

I do not make this stuff up, honestly. Why people send me these clips, I’ll never know. But, here you go. Without comment.

http://www.avclub.com/content/videocracy/431

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What I Miss

March 3rd, 2007 2 comments

Redbeansandrice
I miss Mrs. Forstall’s red beans and rice. I’m making up a batch for the family tonight, and every time I do, I think of Mrs. Forstall. Growing up in Pensacola, Florida my mom and dad were very close friends with John and Nancy Forstall, who to me will always be Mr. and Mrs. Forstall. You see, in those days, in the Heart of Dixie, children did not use adults’ first names, ever. Mr. Forstall was born and raised in New Orleans. He married Nancy Forstall, a Japanese woman, and when she came to the USA with him she learned to make his favorite New Orleans foods, one of which is red beans and rice, served traditionally on Mondays in New Orleans. We would spend many a wonderful Sunday afternoon and evening at their home on Perdido Bay and often would have red beans and rice.

It became a signature dish in New Orleans because it was cheap, filling, nutritious and easy to make. Just toss Sunday’s ham dinner leftover bone in a pot, with red beans,
onions, garlic, smoked sausage, spices and cover with water and simmer
for 2.5 hours or so. Serve over long grain white rice and add a few
dashes of Tobasco and you are talking some mighty fine eats.

Thankfully there’s a number of excellent French/New Orleans style restaurants in our Saint Louis French district: Nortons serves a wonderful seafood gumbo and jambalaya. Soulards, serves red beans and rice, so I still manage to get my red beans and rice fix occasionally, but nothing is as good as Mrs. Forstall’s red beans and rice. I suspect the reason it will always be my favorite doesn’t have much to do with the food, great though it was, but has everything to do with the fun, family and fellowship around the table and the good times we had out there enjoying the bay, playing our instruments [that's for another post], and finishing the day with red beans and rice. Mighty nice.

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