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Archive for January, 2008

Pick Up the Closest Book

January 31st, 2008 20 comments

I don’t much go for "tagging" people, but…well, every once in a while, there is a tag that seems interesting and fun. The reason I don’t do this much is because you always are supposed to invite a select few others. I’m ignoring that and inviting everyone to have some fun and join along.

Pastor Weedon tagged me to do this one. I just noticed it.

Here is the challenge:

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)

Find Page 123.

Find the first 5 sentences.

Post the next 3 sentences.

Tag 5 people.

He will be deeply suspicious that I’m cheating, but …. here is a photo to prove it.

Photo_17If you look at the first book on the right of the books on the credenza, it jus so happens to be the Book of Concord.  Next to it is my Bible, then Wather’s "God Grant It" and then the Catechism, the Pastoral Care Companion, Visitation, and the Lutheran Service Book. Those are the books closest to me here in the office.

So…here’s what I found.

"Through Him we have also obtained access to God" (Romans 5:2, not by works without Christ as Mediator. Therefore, when it is said in Matthew 19:17, "If you would enter life, kep the commandments," we must believe that without Christ the commandments are not kept and cannot please. So in the Decalogue itself, in the First Commandment, the most liberal promise of the Law is added, "But showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:6)."

Article V(III): Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Apology to the Augsburg Confession
Concordia, p. 123

Tag:
Everyone and anyone who reads this and wants to participate by way of a comment.

Categories: Books

New Discussion on the Book of Concord blog

January 27th, 2008 Comments off

Come over and join the conversation at the Book of Concord blog, a new post is up, on the Preface of the Smalcald Articles.

Categories: Lutheran Confessions

Lutheran Art Gallery Now Open

January 25th, 2008 Comments off

Concordia Publishing House is pleased to announce the opening of its on-line virtual art gallery.

Picture_2_2

Categories: Art

O Lord, Look Down from Heaven

January 24th, 2008 1 comment

by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

1. O Lord, look down from heaven, behold and let Thy pity waken: how few are we within Thy Fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand, men suffer not Thy Word to stand. Dark times have us o’ertaken.

2. With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded. Their hearts are not with one consent on Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show, they lead the people to and fro, in error’s maze astounded.

3. May God root out all heresy and of false teachers rid us who proudly say: "Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail. What we determine cannot fail. We have no lord and master."

4. Therefore saith God, "I must arise, the poor My help are needing. To Me ascend My people’s cries, and I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight and fearlessly and sharply smite, the poor with might defending."

5. As silver tried by fire is pure from all adulteration, so through God’s Word shall men endure each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross, and, purified from human dross, it shines through every nation.

6. Thy truth defend, O God, and stay this evil generation; and from the error of their way keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound and would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our Salvation.

Hymn 260
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 12


Author: Martin Luther, 1523
Composite translation
German title: "Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein"

Tune: "Ach Gott vom Himmel"

1st Published in: Enchiridion
Erfurt, 1524

Categories: Martin Luther Quotes

St. Timothy: Pastor and Confessor

January 24th, 2008 1 comment

My name is Paul Timothy McCain. Many people always assumed my parents named me Paul after my father, who is also named Paul, but I came to learn the reasons for my name were much deeper than that. My father, Paul, wanted his son, Paul, to have the kind of father/son relationship that St. Timothy had with St. Paul, as summed up in these verses, from 2 Timothy 3:

Timothy, my son, you
have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my
patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings,
what befell me at Antioch, at lconion, and at Lystra, what persecutions
I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed all who desire
to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men
and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But
as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,
knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been
acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for
salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

My dad would often reference these verses on a birthday card, or in a letter, or on a gift book. I cherish the gift of the name my parents gave me and so any day in the Church Year set aside to commemorate and remember St. Paul and/or St. Timothy are special and unique for me, in a variety of ways; even more so now that my earthly father is with my heavenly father for all eternity, with St. Paul and St. Timothy and all the faithful pastors, confessors and all the saints.

Pastor Randy Asburry has a nice blog post today for St. Timothy and I offer it here to you for your consideration:

Today the Lutheran Service Book
calendar thanks God for St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor. It’s more
than just a "Commemoration"; it’s a full "Feast and Festival" with
three readings appointed for the Divine Service (Mass). Here are some
reflections on those readings.

Acts 16:1-5
In
the first reading for this feast day, we read how St. Paul first met
Timothy and how he recruited Timothy to join him in the service of
preaching the Gospel. Timothy was "the son of a Jewish woman who was a
believer, but his father was a Greek." How interesting that Timothy
came from a family of one pious parent and one parent who was, well, we
just don’t know, aside from his nationality. For whatever reason, most
likely his father’s will, Timothy was not circumcised. So as St. Paul
recruited Timothy into the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he
chose to circumcise Timothy in order that the Gospel might have a
hearing among the Jews. From this reading we see that God most
certainly can and does use us weak, earthen vessels, with all of our
family and personal baggage – actually, despite all our baggage! – to
proclaim His goodness and mercy in Christ Jesus crucified and risen.
After Timothy joined St. Paul’s missionary entourage, "the churches
were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily." A
great testimony to the Messiah and the message that St. Timothy was
called to preach!

1 Timothy 6:11-16
In
this reading St. Paul exhorts Timothy on being a faithful pastor, that
is, a shepherd of souls. He urges the young pastor and confessor to
flee the self-serving, wealth-seeking ways of the false teachers
(6:3-10), and then he lists severals things that are to characterize
faithful pastors: "righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
steadfastness, gentleness." St. Paul urges Timothy – and, by extension,
all faithful pastors – to "fight the good fight of faith" and "take
hold of the eternal life to which you were called." While the pastor
may indeed serve and help people in this life, even with bodily needs,
his ultimate aim, his chief goal, for himself and his hearers, is faith
and eternal life – that is, life in communion with God, both now and
into eternity. As Timothy also learned from St. Paul, the pastor’s main
business is to make the good confession. And what a great example of
the good confession the Apostle gives to Timothy in verses 14-16! How
different this is from so many modern views of the pastoral office that
urge us to be congregational CEOs, junior psychotherapists, company men
always on the lookout for the next faddish way to excite people, lure
people, gather crowds, etc. Faithful Pastor Timothy shows us what truly
matters: confessing Jesus Christ crucified and risen, "the King of
kings and Lord of lords."

Matthew 24:42-47
While
the Gospel reading does not mention St. Timothy, per se, it does extol
the pastoral office. Just as Timothy was, so are all pastors called to
be "the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his
household, to give them their food at the proper time." The pastor is
certainly set over his congregation, but only as the servant of the
Master, answerable to Him. No, not a servant who kowtows to the whims
of the fellow servants and merely seeks their momentary pleasure and
all-too-fleeting approval. Rather, the servant who does the Master’s
bidding for the spiritual benefit and eternal life of his fellow
servants in the Master’s household. And what is the "faithful and wise
servant" – the pastor – given to do? "Give them their food at the
proper time." Of course, he is not to mistreat his fellow servants, nor
lord it over them, etc.; but neither is he free to give them whatever
faddish pablum or worldly false nutrition that he can innovate on his
computer or unveil from the denominational corporate office. Like
Timothy, the faithful pastor is to give out the Master’s food – the
very Bread of Life – the Master Himself in His Body and Blood and in
the "bread" of His Gospel message. And once again we hear a clue about
the ultimate aim of the pastor’s work: not this life, but eternal life
- life with the blessed and holy Trinity. He is to keep his fellow
servants awake to the life and love that God gives in His Son. His
message is this: "Here comes the Lord Himself, both now – in the
Gospel’s message of mercy and in the Sacraments of water, bread and
wine, and absolving words – and on the Last Day – when the Master
returns."

As St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy: "The saying is
trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a
noble task" (1 Timothy 3:1). What a "noble task" this Office of the
Holy Ministry is! What a great example we have in St. Timothy! Thank
You, Lord, for Your saint who learned from St. Paul and who passed on
the "good confession."! And so, for all pastors who want to be faithful
and follow in the footsteps of St. Timothy, we can do nothing better
than emblazon on our minds and hearts the words of 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

I
charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge
the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach
the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and
exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming
when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears
they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own
passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off
into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do
the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Hymn Verse:
All praise for faithful pastors,
Who preached and taught Your Word;
For Timothy and Titus
True servants of their Lord.
Lord, help Your pastors nourish
The souls within their care,
So that Your Church may flourish
And all Your blessings share. (LSB 517:11)

Collect of the Day:
Lord
Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful
shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all
pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of
grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to
life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (LSB Collects of the Day)

The Mark of a Moderate Mind

January 21st, 2008 Comments off

"It is the mark of a moderate mind not only to think reverently with the Church, but also to speak reverently with the Church; and it is the mark of obedient children not to hold the voice of their mother in disdain."

Johann Gerhard
Loci Theologici
On the Nature of God and On the Most Holy Mystery of the Holy Trinity
CPH: 2007, pg. 300.

Categories: Church Fathers

Hymnal Price Going Up in May

January 16th, 2008 Comments off

Lsb
The introductory price of Lutheran Service Book is going to end in May. The price of the hymnal will be going to $23 from $18.50. If you recall, Concordia Publishing House extended the special introductory price longer than originally planned; so, if you or your congregation want to purchase the new hymnal at $18.50, make your plans now to do so before the price increases on May 12, 2008. To place your order call 800-325-3040 or place your order through our web site.

Here is the information just sent out by CPH:

Order Lutheran Service Book now to receive the lowest price!

The introductory prices for Lutheran Service Book and its
companion editions are effective until May 12, 2008! On this date the
pew edition will increase to $23.00 (now $18.50), and there will be a
modest price increase on many of the companion editions.

Concordia Publishing House is pleased to announce that there will be no increase on the annual renewals for
Lutheran Service Builder and the accompanying liturgy license. However, when
Lutheran Service Builder 2.0 is released in November 2008,
there will be a 15% increase on the initial purchase price. Existing
subscribers will receive version 2.0 and all of its enhancements as
part of their ongoing service. Only new customers will need to pay the
increased rate.

Lutheran Service Book and Lutheran Service Builder
continue to serve The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in its worship
life! Nearly 70% of our congregations have adopted these resources.

Visit lsb.cph.org to view all the latest resources, including
Lutheran Service Book: Propers of the Day.

Categories: Books

Where Bach was jailed, Asians pay homage

January 14th, 2008 3 comments

Weimar gets ready for the tercentenary of the composer’s arrival – thousands of Japanese expected


By Uwe Siemon-Netto

(From January 2008 issue of The Asia-Pacific Times)

Bachhausmann
This year, thousands of Japanese and Koreans will be among the
visitors pouring into the central German town of Weimar where Johann
Sebastian Bach took up residence exactly three centuries ago, composed
most of his organ works and was jailed by the local ruler after seeking
greener pastures elsewhere. Bach’s popularity in Asia has become an
enduring phenomenon, particularly because of its missionary attributes.

–0—

When Yuko Maru-yama launches into her organ prelude
Sunday mornings at the beginning of divine service in a Minneapolis
church, chances are she will be playing something Johann Sebastian Bach
wrote three centuries ago during the period he was the court composer
to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxony-Weimar. 

There are two reasons for this probability. First, like an
ever-growing number of Japanese, Maruyama is passionate about Bach -
she attributes her conversion from Buddhism to Christianity to his
music. “When I play a fugue, I can hear Bach talking to God,” she told
Metro Lutheran, a monthly church paper in the Twin Cities.

Second, Bach composed three quarters of his organ works in the
enchanting Thuringian town of Weimar, which captivated him in a strange
sort of way at the end of his nine-year tenure there from 1708 until
1717. When he accepted a more lucrative position in nearby Köthen,
Weimar’s Duke Wilhelm Ernst sent him to prison for four weeks, reducing
him to a daily diet of bread and water. The lock from his cell is still
on display at the Bach Museum in Eisenach, the town where the composer
was born in 1685.

Still, this year Weimar will benefit from the persistent Bach boom
sweeping East Asia. Scores of Japanese journalists have already roamed
this town on pre-tercentenary research assignments, according to Uta
Kühne, spokeswoman for Weimar GmbH, a company promoting the city’s
economic development and tourism.

Two major tour operators in Japan and another in South Korea have
added Weimar to their destinations. Not only is it the site of his
brief incarceration but also the birthplace of two of his sons, Wilhelm
Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel, who were also stellar musicians
whose compositions are as much admired in Asia as they are in the
Western world.

The influx of Asians to Bach sites in Germany has been perplexing
musicologists and theologians alike for decades now. They come in
droves not only as tourists but also as serious students of music. Of
the 850 students at Germany’s oldest state conservatory, the Hochschule
für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in Leipzig, 148 are
Asians, chiefly South Koreans and Japanese, according to Ute Fries,
dean of students. Bach was musical director of Leipzig’s Thomaskirche
for the last 27 years of his life and wrote most of his cantatas there.

Leipzig’s late “superintendent” (regional bishop) Rev. Johannes
Richter used to wonder even back in the days when this city was part of
Communist East Germany: “What is it about his work that evidently
bridges all cultural divides and has such a massive missionary impact
for Christianity in faraway parts of the world?”

For years, Richter observed with growing fascination how in his
Gothic sanctuary, Japanese musicologist Keisuke Maruyama studied the
influence of the weekday pericopes (prescribed readings) in the early
18th-century Lutheran lectionary cycle on Bach’s cantatas. When he had
finished, he told the clergyman: “It is not enough to read Christian
texts. I want to be a Christian myself. Please baptize me.”

But this scholar’s conversion could have been attributed to the
impact of pericopes’ biblical texts on Maruyama. Why, though, would a
fugue have such evangelistic powers as it did on the Japanese organist
in Minnesota? Why would even listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations,
which contain no lyrics, arouse someone’s interest in Christianity?
This happened when Masashi Yasuda, a former agnostic, heard a CD with
Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s rendering of this complex Clavier-Übung,
or keyboard study. Still, Yasuda’s spiritual journey began precisely
with these variations. He is now a Jesuit priest teaching systematic
theology at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Some theologians tend to attribute the astounding impact of Bach’s
music particularly on the scientific minds of many Asians to the Holy
Spirit. Canon Arthur Peacocke, a Church of England clergyman and noted
biologist who is also one of the leading spokesmen in burgeoning
international dialog between theology and the natural sciences, once
suggested that the Holy Spirit personally dictated “The Art of the
Fugue,” Bach’s arguably most challenging work, into the composer’s
plume.

“The reason why Bach’s most abstract works guide some Asian people
to Christ is because his music reflects the perfect beauty of created
order to which the Japanese mind is particularly receptive,” suggested
Charles Ford, a mathematics professor at the University of St. Louis.
“Bach has the same effect on me, a Western scientist,” added Ford, who
is also one of America’s foremost experts on the theology of Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, the martyred Lutheran theologian hanged by the Nazis.

Henry Gerike, organist and choirmaster at Concordia Seminary in St.
Louis, a Lutheran school of theology, agrees with Ford: “The fugue is
the best way God has given us to enjoy his creation. But of course
Bach’s most significant message to us is the Gospel.” Gerike echoes
Swedish archbishop Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931), who famously called
Bach’s cantatas “the fifth Gospel.”

Rev. Robert Bergt, musical director of Concordia’s Bach at the Sem
concert series, has first-hand experience with the missionary lure of
Bach’s cantatas in Tokyo. He used to be the chief conductor of
Musashino Music Academy’s three orchestras in the Japanese capital.
Bach’s compositions brought his musicians, audiences and students into
contact with the Word of God, he said. “Some of these people would then
in private declare themselves as ‘closet Christians,’” Bergt told
Christian History magazine. “I saw this happen at least 15 times. And
during one of them I eventually baptized myself.” While only one
percent of Japan’s population of 128 million is officially Christian,
Bergt estimated that the real figure could be three times as high if
one includes secret believers.

After two failed attempts to popularize Bach’s music in Japan since
the late 19th century, a veritable Bach boom has been sweeping that
country for the past 16 years. Its driving force is organist Masaaki
Suzuki, founder and conductor of the Bach Collegium Japan that has
spawned hundreds of similar societies throughout the country.

During Advent or Holy Week, respectively, Suzuki’s performances of
the “Christmas Oratorio” or the “St. Matthew Passion” are always sold
out, even though tickets cost more than $600. After each concert,
members of the audience crowd Suzuki on the podium asking him about the
Christian concept of hope and about death, a topic normally taboo in
polite Japanese society. “I am spreading Bach’s message, which is a
biblical one,” Suzuki said.

But why do Bach’s melodies and harmonies, so alien to the Asian ear,
appeal to the Japanese? Some musicologists attribute this to Francis
Xavier and other Jesuit missionaries, who introduced the Gregorian
chant to Japan and built organs from bamboo pipes 400 years ago. Though
Christianity was soon squashed, elements of its music infiltrated
traditional folk song.

Four centuries later, this curious fact is now enabling tens of
thousands of people in one of the most secularized nations on earth to
turn to Christianity via Bach. But here’s the irony: As some of these
will come to pay homage to Bach during the Weimar tercentenary
celebrations, his own land has become mission territory after 56 years
of Nazi and Communist dictatorships. In Thuringia and neighboring
Saxony, only one quarter of the population belongs to a Christian
church.

– Uwe Siemon-Netto, a Leipzig-born veteran foreign correspondent
and Lutheran Lay theologian, is scholar-in-residence at Concordia
Seminary in St. Louis (U.S.).

Categories: Bach

Smalcald, here we come! New Blog of Concord post

January 13th, 2008 Comments off

Hasten thyself over to the blogsite: Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions and take a look at the new post there. We are moving on to the Smalcald Articles in our discussions. The introductory post has words and pictures! Something for everyone. Be there, or be square, or something like that.

Categories: Blogging

Hell’s Best Kept Secret: The Distinction Between Law and Gospel

January 13th, 2008 3 comments

I was fascinated by this video in which two Evangelicals are explaining what, apparently, is a "discovery" for them, and which they are urging on fellow Evangelicals. They are very blunt about the "fall away" rate of those who claim to be making "decisions" for Jesus, and they present what we Lutherans would identify as the proper distinction between Law and Gospel. If you watch the video provided over at The Wittenberg Trail, I would be interested in your reaction. It is kind of sad that we Lutherans are tempted to regard the proper distinction between Law and Gospel as a bit "old school" and sometimes think we have to find some other way, when precisely at the same time Evangelicals are discovering "hell’s best kept secret." They are quite direct, "The tragedy of modern evangelism" is getting rid of the Law and they have "degenerated" the Gospel into happiness; which they describe as the "unscriptural nature" of this popular teaching.

Pit Bull Fans

January 12th, 2008 3 comments

Something rather amusing has been happening in the past few months. Apparently, there are a group of rabid Pit Bull lovers (pun intended) who love their aggressive pooches so much that they spend quite a bit of time scouring the Internet looking for anything, that in any way, presents their pups in a less than positive light. I mean, the fact that the beasts have a propensity for tearing people to shreds, particularly young children, notwithstanding, I’ve been told by Pit Bull lovers that they are actually the most gentle and loving animals on God’s green earth! It’s been amusing to me how many comments this blog site has received all because well over two years ago I put up a photo of a fierce dog with a post titled, "Theological Pit Bulls" devoted to a description of a certain breed of Calvinist blogger who apparently spends hours every day attacking any blog site, anywhere, that rejects Calvinism’s T.U.L.I.P. theory. So, now, at least once a week or so, I get the kind of comment recently put here from a pit bull owner decrying my terrible portrayal of their favorite canine. I usually erase them along with the other spam the site gets a lot of. I let one go through so you could see it. It’s pretty funny.

Categories: Blogging

More Gerhard Goodness: On God and the Holy Trinity

January 12th, 2008 1 comment

Gerhard
I have good news! The second volume of Johann Gerhard’s Loci Theologici, which for the first time is being published in English translation, is now available. You may view an excerpt from the volume, and read more about it
on the CPH web site. Simply put there is no theological resource that lays out Lutheran doctrine this extensively in English. I’m pleased and proud to report that Concordia Publishing House has become the single best source for the works of Johann Gerhard. We carry nearly every English translation of his works available and with the publication of the Loci we are the best "one stop shop" on the Internet for the works of Gerhard. The same holds true for English translation of the works of Martin Chemnitz. Here is the information on the book from the CPH web site.

The Theological Commonplaces series presents the first-ever
English translation of the 16-volume Loci Theologici of Johann Gerhard.
Gerhard addresses the Christian faith doctrine by doctrine in an
accessible style. Gerhard interacts with the writings of the Church
fathers, Luther and his contemporaries, and the Catholic, Reformed, and
Unitarian theologians of his day. This series remains a classic of
Lutheran theology and offers contemporary church workers and
researchers a wealth of material on the distinctives of Lutheran
doctrine.

180pxjohann_gerhard_4
On the Nature of God and on the Trinity
, translated by
Richard J. Dinda, addresses God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as
Gerhard explores the divine names, the natural knowledge of God, the
divine essence, and the mystery of the Trinity. As Gerhard makes the
argument for the Trinity, he turns repeatedly to Holy Scripture and
interacts with the writings of the ancient Church fathers as they
sought to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity. He specifically
addresses the arguments of the Socinians (Unitarians) concerning the
Trinity.

On the Nature of God and on the Trinity is the second volume in the Theological Commonplaces series.

Who is Johann Gehard? I’m glad you asked.  Read the extended entry for a very well done mini-biography.

Read more…

Categories: Books

Welcome First Things Blog Readers

January 12th, 2008 1 comment

My fellow Lutheran blogger, Anthony Sacramone, bewailed the Amazon Kindle and referred First Things blog readers to my blog site. So, if any of you manage to make your way over here, welcome.

Categories: Blogging

The Concordia Edition: Supersized!

January 11th, 2008 3 comments

Concordiaboc
Click on the picture to get a "supersized" version of the cover of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. It’s a 1.3 meg image, so you may experience a wait as it downloads and displays. Feel free to use this image on your blog sites, in parish publications, etc.

Sales are still going strong and we are now up to nearly 62,000 copies "out there" somewhere. You never know where you are going to run across it.

Just last week, I heard from a pastor in Kentucky who reported that he had a family join the parish after the husband and wife had read the Concordia edition. They were Southern Baptists but found the Lutheran Confessions’ presentation of God’s Word deeply impressive and persuasive. Their children were all baptized and now the man is considering studying for the ministry. We regularly receive messages from people indicating how much the Book of Concord has impressed them and challenged them to dig more deeply into their faith.

Again, and again…and again….people ask me, "Why didn’t our pastors ever tell us about this book before?" I used to sputter about for a bit trying to answer that question; frankly, not wanting to make any pastor look bad, but then I realized, "You know what? Pastors are just plainly wrong when they do not tell their their congregations about the Lutheran Confessions. There’s no excuse for it." So now I usually answer that question by saying,  "Some pastors wrongly believe that laypeople will not be interested in the Book of Concord; and most sadly of all, a reason some pastors do not ever bother to mention the Book of Concord to their congregation is because they themselves are no longer interested in it much themselves."

If the price of the book was a factor in a reticence to use the Book of Concord in a pastor’s teaching work in a parish, well, that excuse is now gone too. So…enjoy!

Coming soon: the electronic edition of Concordia, in Libronix format. Stay tuned!

Categories: Lutheran Confessions

Kindle: Is This the Future of Reading?

January 10th, 2008 9 comments

Kindlesk
I recently acquired a Kindle, from Amazon. Here is a pretty good summary article from Wikipedia. I’ve been having a lot of fun learning how to use it and loading books into it. I’m unsure yet what precisely it means, but I can not help shake the feeling that this portends the future of how we will receive, and use, digital information going forward into the future. Will books ever go away? No. After over 500 years, they are going as strongly as ever. They are the ultimate portable document device. Let’s think of the advantages of books:

Supremely portable
Simple user interface
Ease of use
Can be used anywhere there is light
Require no power source
Never need recharging
Offer a satisfying tactile look and feel
Instantly on
Never need an upgrade
No risk of breakdown (unless mistreated)

What about a Kindle? It allows me to have with me, wherever I want to take it, a large collection of reading material. With a secure digital card I can carry around over eight gigabytes of intellectual property: music, photos, books, magazines, newspapers, blog sites, and the Kindle has its own functional browser, and offers you the ability to access Wikipedia at any time. Talk about your ultimate walking encyclopedia!

Ironically, one of the first books I downloaded, which I read about on the Kindle, was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, the premise of which is that a bunch of eggheads are determined to preserve their civilization’s knowledge in the Galactic Encyclopedia.

The sensation of reading on the Kindle is very pleasing. There is no screen glare. It is truly like reading a paperback book. The massive infrastructure that Amazon has developed to support the Kindle is the most amazing feature of the Kindle. You can put any document you want on it. Just as long as you have it in one of several common formats, you can send it to Amazon, they convert it into Kindle’s format and they will either e-mail it to you for you to download on to the Kindle yourself, or for ten cents, you receive it over the Kindle’s wireless Internet connection; which, by the way, works much better than my WiFi at home from ATT and my Sprint cell phone; just now, for example, I uploaded a 6.6 megabyte collection of a German theologians letters to pastors (all of them), and within ten minutes it was sent back down to my Kindle and I can enjoy them there.

There is much to think about here and I’m enjoying both the thinking and Kindle reading! Does any reader of this blog have a Kindle? What do you think?

Categories: Books