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Archive for March, 2009

Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms: Volume One is Available

March 14th, 2009 6 comments

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The German edition of Commentary on Luther's Catechisms has long been the gold standard of research on the catechetical texts of the great reformer. This translation makes the wealth of research available in English for both the researcher and the catechist. Separate volumes will address the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments, and Confession, with the Table of Duties, Prayers, and the Marriage and Baptismal Booklets.

The first volume is now available: on the Ten Commandments.

Here is a nice sample from the book including the Table of Contents and some of the introductory material: Download Catchismsampler

Here is what Luther scholars are saying about Peters' work:

"One of the most insightful interpreters of Luther and the
theological tradition of the Lutheran Church in the latter half of the
twentieth century, Peters places Luther's texts before readers in the
context of the reformer's own time and of the catechetical tradition
that he inherited, put to use, and transformed. Accessible to a broad
audience, this volume will significantly enrich the teaching of all who
use it to deepen their understanding of two of the most precious gems
from Luther's pen: the Small and Large Catechism."

Robert Kolb
Missions Professor of
Systematic Theology and Director of the Institute for Mission Studies
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Missouri

"This definitive and comprehensive study of Luther's catechetical
writings places Luther's Catechisms in the full context of his broader
theology and writings, as well as within the history of Christian
catechesis and theology. It is an essential handbook for students of
Luther and the Reformation and a valuable resource for those entrusted
today with the ministry of catechesis according to these most durable
products of Luther's pastoral heart and pen."

Christopher Boyd Brown
Assistant professor of Church History Boston University

Since the time they were written, Luther's Catechisms have played an essential role in teaching the Holy Scriptures and offering to all those using them a wonderful summary of the "essentials" of Christianity. To this day, the Small Catechism remains the most widely used resource for teaching the Christian faith, both to young people and adults. The stories I continue to hear from pastors and laypeople, from Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike continue to affirm what the Book of Concord said about Luther's Catechisms nearly 450 years ago:

They have been unanimously approved and recieved by all churches holding to the Augsburg Confession and have been publicly used in churches, schools, and in homes. The Christian doctrine from God's Word is put together in them in the most correct and simple way. (Formula of Concord; Solid Declaration; Rule and Norm, par. 8; Concordia, p. 509).
Categories: CPH Resources

Book Lovers True Confessions MEME

March 12th, 2009 3 comments

I found this today on Pastor Asburry's blog site. I don't think I've ever done one of these, but I can't resist this one. And, if you are reading this right now, YOU are tagged. Bibliophiles unite! Enjoy.

Book Confessions Meme

1. To mark your page you: use a bookmark, bend the page corner, leave the book open face down?
Depends on the book. I'll bend a page corner on fiction. Non-fiction? Bookmark only! Usually a business card. God created business cards to be the perfect bookmark.

2. Do you lend your books?
Yes, but I'm always very nervous about it.

3. You find an interesting passage: you write in your book or NO WRITING IN BOOKS!
I write all over books, using every method: highlighting, underlining, marginal notes, running notes on end pages, or inside cover four.

4. Dust jackets – leave it on or take it off.
I very, very stupidly used to throw away dust jackets. Then after seeing what happens to a book left in any degree of sunlight for several years, I now never throw away a dustjacket.

5. Hard cover, paperback, skip it and get the audio book?
Hard cover, always, of course, unless only paperback is available. I have also slowly upgraded all my paper cover theological books to hardback, whenever possible.

6. Do you shelve your books by subject, author, or size and color of the book spines?
Subjects/topics, until I run out of shelf space and then they go wherever there is room. My theological library is far more organized than my library at home.

7. Buy it or borrow it from the library later?
Buy. Buy. Buy. Amazon's one-click buying option has been a great source of conversation between my wife and me.

8. Do you put your name on your books – scribble your name in the cover, fancy bookplate, or stamp?
I have a book stamp I like to use, when I remember to use it, one of those "embosser" type things. I always write my name and the date I acquired the book, and the price, on the first page or so of the book.

9. Most of the books you own are rare and out of print books or recent publications?
Many have gone out of print!

10. Page edges – deckled or straight?
Deckled irritates me. Somebody was too lazy to trim the page edge!

11. How many books do you read at one time?
With the "Kindle" the number of books being read "at the same time" has soared to absurd proportions. I probably have ten going at once at any given time.

12. Be honest, ever tear a page from a book?
What? Never. Ever. Not even my cheapo paperbacks.

Categories: Uncategorized

Free Stem Cell Discussion Guide

March 10th, 2009 Comments off

As
a service to the Church, CPH is now offering a free downloadable study
on embryonic stem cell research issues. This has become, again, a very
hot topic in light of President Obama’s reversal of the previous
administration’s ban on using our tax dollars to help fund embryonic
stem cell research.

Categories: CPH Resources

Update on The Lutheran Study Bible

March 7th, 2009 2 comments

Many thanks for your enthusiastic
support for The Lutheran Study Bible. It is encouraging to hear from so
many folks who are fired-up over this forthcoming Bible. Here is an update of where we are on the Bible and its promotion. Please spread the word to your friends.

Bible production is humming along. Some finishing touches, final checks, adding all cross-reference page numbers, final proofing, etc. and we will be sending it off to the printer in a few months for printing. All is on schedule and on track for an October 31 release date. What a wonderful way to celebrate Reformation Day this year!

I
finished reviewing the "sampler" coming out in a couple months at work
last week. Many of you have asked if we are going to have something
that can be downloaded and shared. The answer is "yes, indeed."

The
sampler contains the story and background of The Lutheran Study Bible,
a great comparison chart, that we've tweaked some more to make it look
great in black/white, then a nice selection of samples from Genesis,
from the Psalms, from John and from Romans.

So, folks will see
the creation account, Psalm 23 and a few others, the beginning of John,
up to and including John 3:16, and pages from the intro to Romans, and
the first chapter of Romans, etc.

We will be sending the
sampler out in a kit to all Lutheran congregations in North America,
and will have copies available at LCMS District Conventions in June. We
are also formatting it for the purpose of folks downloading it and
printing it out, in black/white. That PDF file will go up as soon as we
finish work on the sampler. I'll let you know when it is available.

Then
we have all the contributors in the back, more information about where
to order the Bible, and news about a companion every book and chapter
Bible study we are releasing to go along with the Bible.

We are
also working on a series of short videos on "getting to know" and "how
to use" your new Lutheran Study Bible, which are going to be great.
More podcasts are coming, interviews with editors and contributors,
etc. etc. etc.

So, stay tuned and would you do me a favor? Would
you continue to share all this news with your friends on Facebook and
elsewhere on the Internet? Be sure to put up a TLSB widget on your
blog/Facebook page/home page.

Grab one over at the new CPH widget page. And, if you are not already on the TLSB Facbook page, please consider joining it. You can do that at the widget page. 

Categories: CPH Resources

Kindle 2 Review

March 7th, 2009 4 comments

I've had the new Kindle2 for a couple weeks now and wanted to try it out before saying anything. OK, so, I've tried it out. Here is my short reaction: everything I could not stand [hated] about Kindle 1 has been addressed and fixed in Kindle 2. Kindle 1 was a design disaster. Kindle 2 gets it right. Kindle 2 gets it so right you say to yourself, "What was Amazon thinking when they did Kindle 1?" And for those smugly thinking to themselves, "Glad I waited and did not buy Kindle 1." Yup, you were right!

Here is a picture of Kindle 1:

Kindle 1

Here is a picture of Kindle 2:

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Kindle 1 buttons were terrible. They were huge, they "clicked" because they were engaged to "click" by pressing the outside edge, down. The Kindle 2 uses much smaller buttons and you can only click them if you mean to, by clicking down on the inside edge. Thanks to Ryan Markel for explaining why it is that I like the new Kindle 2 buttons so much! Has something to do with toggle/pivot direction.

Kindle 1 felt like a cheap piece of junk. Kindle 2 feels like you have yourself a substantial device in your hands. I know this is entirely a perception thing, but …it is a huge satisfying difference.

Kindle 1 was like holding a weird block-like/brick-like thing in your hands, and you could never find a comfortable position to hold it without fear that you would press a button and either advance a page, go back a page, or worse yet, kick yourself out of what you were reading. Kindle 2 is easy to hold and use without fear of pressing a button.

Kindle 1 was thick and bulky. Kindle 2 is sleek and trim.

Kindle 1's keyboard was just plain weirdly spaced out. Kindle 1 designers obviously thought, "Let's make all the buttons on this thing as large as possible." Kindle 2 designers said, "Wow, that was a mistake. Let's make the buttons smaller so readers can use them more easily."

Kindle 1 used a goofy track wheel kind of thing and a weird "silver" progress bar system on the side. So, you had to scroll and click. Kindle 2 completely changed the interface to a little "joystick" which I did not think I'd like at first, but it is a breeze to use and gives you more functionality, more quickly. Big improvement, and no more goofy silvery stuff on the progress bar. No progress bar.

Kindle 1 did not come with a USB cable, but did come with an external charger thing. Kindle 2 comes with a USB cable and charger put together in a nice combination. You pop the electrical plug off and, voila, you have the Kindle-to-computer USB port, pop the electrical plug back on and you can power it up from any wall socket, and there is only cable. The other end of the USB cable is a small connection, so you can't use the more standard USB cables that you use with most other cameras, and digital device.

Kindle 1's design was just plain weird. It was kind of a rectangle from the front but a kind of wedge from the side. It was Picasso-esque in design and feel. The Kindle 2 reminds me of something Apple computer would do, design, present, package, and document. 'nuff said.

Kindle 1 had its on/off and wireless buttons on the back of the device. Which would be fine assuming you didn't use a cover. But since most people want to have something protecting their $400 device, this meant you would invariably manage to detach the cover from the Kindle 1, or literally the back cover of the Kindle 1 would come off. Horrible design flaws. Kindle 2 however has only one on/off button that you simply slide over for a few seconds, and power on. Slide over quickly to wake it up. Slide it over and hold it for four seconds to power down.

Kindle 1's cover. Disaster. Total and complete, disaster. It hooked into a plastic cover on the back and the cover would fall out at the slightest bump. So your cover would never stay on or attached while you were reading it. Kindle 2 has a wonderful locking cover system where you attach the cover (optional) into a locking clip. The cover does not come off, period.

Kindle 1's battery life was not the greatest. Wifi on Kindle 1 was find. Kindle 2 has better battery life, particularly after you a few good full charges, and it's wireless is much better, taking advantage of 3G speeds where available.

Frankly, for me, the jury is still out a bit on whether I enjoy reading more with the Kindle than with traditional books, but I do know this: I'm reading more now then I have previously. Why? Because the Kindle makes it easy to have, literally at your fingertips, hundreds and hundreds of options. For instance, during my trip yesterday I had a two hour flight to where I went, and a two hour flight back. Four hours. Plus waiting time at the airport. A total of around seven hours. All spent reading. I read a manuscript an author-friend of mine sent me for an endorsement, I read from the New Yorker magazine, I read from the Bible, the Book of Concord, Treasure Island, and several other papers and such that I have on the Kindle.

I give the Kindle 2 a 8.5 out of 10 stars. I'm reserving 1.5 stars for future improvement. I find the Kindle reading experience to be extremely comfortable. No eye strain. You are not looking at a back lit screen. It is very much like reading a book, and that's the nicest thing I can say about it.

Oh, one more thing. I'm sorry PC-friends, but the differences between Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 can be best summarized by saying this. "Kindle 1 felt like it was designed by Microsoft. Kindle 2? Apple." 'nuff said.

Categories: Web/Tech

It’s a Star Trek thing, you wouldn’t understand

March 6th, 2009 5 comments

I'm sorry to bore out of their gourds folks who are not Trekkies, but for those of us who are…this is exciting stuff: trailer three is out, so far the best sneak-peek.

Trek_top

Categories: movies

Care to fidget with a widget? The Lutheran Study Bible’s new widgets!

March 3rd, 2009 3 comments

Hey, when you get a chance, please feel free to start sharing these widgets, by putting them on your own blog sites, Internet pages, etc. etc. and sharing them with others so they can do the same. Let’s have some fun and see how fast we can see these widgets populate themselves around the Internet. When you do, would you drop me a line, or add a comment here? As always, you can contact me at boc1580@gmail.com
Here are three options for you and you can find another product widget at the new Concordia Publishing House widget page.





Categories: CPH Resources

How to Recognize, and What to Do, When the “Orthodoxy Bug” has Bitten

March 2nd, 2009 20 comments

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A friend of mine posted some remarks recently about the temptation some Lutherans feel to run off and join Eastern Orthodoxy. I won't reveal my friend's name since he may wish to say more, or something other, at some other time, elsewhere. But his remarks, posted below, are extremely wise and helpful. We were talking about the "EO Bug" and I told him I can spot those who have been bitten a mile away by now. I've watched over the years as men are bitten by the "Orthodoxy bug" and the symptoms begin, usually, with an unhealthy fascination with all things Eastern Orthodox, at the expense of neglecting their own Lutheran fathers and confessions. Incessant quotations from Early Church fathers, and usually Eastern fathers, and not uncommonly, the more obscure desert fathers, start filling their blog site posts. The only art you see them using is Eastern Orthodox iconography. You rarely see them quoting with praise and a positive attitude Luther or our Lutheran fathers. Suddenly Lutheranism is treated as merely a little "glitch" in church history. Next thing you know they are quoting, ad naseum, contemporary Orthodox theologians and gushing over the wonders of Eastern Orthodoxy. Then there develops a keen defensiveness when they are questioned about where they are headed. Passive-aggressiveness sets in and they even deny they are being tugged toward Orthodoxy, but they start blaming others and adopting a "I'm being picked on" mentality. At any rate, these symptoms are just that: symptoms of deeper problems to come. Here is how my friend put matters when asked what to do for folks who have been bitten by the "Orthodox bug."

"First, once one is bitten by the bug it is very hard to find ANY
inoculation. I know this from first hand experience. But if a person IS
willing to consider facts, it might be of help for them to read through
the Patristics for Lutherans section that Eric put up in the resource
section some time ago – in numerous ways, the Fathers stand closer to
Lutheranism than to modern Orthodoxy. Second, I'd encourage them to
look exactly at what the Orthodox DO in the invocation of the saints.
They will tell you what they have been indoctrinated in: we're only
asking Mary to pray to God for us. But the Orthodox do more than this.
I cite from the Antiochian Service Book, page 130:

"O all-holy Lady Theotokos, light of my darkened soul, my hope, my
shelter, my refuge, my consolation and my joy; I thank thee that thou
hast permitted me, unworthy though I be, to partake of the immaculate
body and precious blood of thy Son. O thou who didst bring forth the
true Light, give the light of understanding to the eyes of my heart; O
thou who didst bear the Fountain of Immortality, quicken me who am dead
in sin. O compassionate Mother of the merciful God, have mercy upon me
and grant me humility and contrition of heart, and humbleness of mind,
and deliverance from bondage to evil thoughts. And permit me, unto my
last breath, to receive, without condemnation, the sanctification of
these Holy Mysteries, unto the healing of both body and soul. Grant me
tears of repentance and of confession, that I may hymn thee and glorify
thee all the days of my life. For blessed and glorified art thou unto
all the ages. Amen.

"That is an idolatrous prayer; there is no other word to describe it. I
can't imagine that it would be pleasing to the Holy Virgin at all!

"Third, invite them to run it through the John 3:16 test. What happens
to John 3:16 under Orthodoxy? God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him (and is a member of the
true Church!) shall not perish (probably, but we make no guarantees -
that would be prideful) but have eternal life (provided that he has
suitable works).

"Finally, pray for them. This is in many ways a spiritual battle. And
the sad thing is where will their final confidence be placed in the
last battle – when they are facing death and Satan suddenly throws up
to their memory so many sins and evils. A friend of mine who is now an
Orthodox priest likes to tell the story of a priest begging for longer
life so he can do more penance, because he didn't even know if he had
begun to repent. Contrast this, please, with the comfort of God's Word
which allowed the great saints to depart in peace – not because of
their accomplishments in repentance, but in the certainty of Christ's
forgiveness and His victory over death and the grave for them."

Categories: Eastern Orthodoxy

Tweets from the Treasury of Daily Prayer

March 2nd, 2009 Comments off

Receive a daily prayer and Psalm reading via Twitter, from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, receive it as a SMS message on your cell phone, etc. @ConcordiaPrayer is a new service that tweets a prayer at 8 am. and a portion of a Psalm at 5 pm. daily from Treasury for Daily Prayer. Please retweet.

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Categories: CPH Resources