July 2008


This is an outstanding story.

Lomong was in church praying that morning in 1991 when the soldiers rushed in and his nightmare began.

“They wanted all the kids to go out with them,” he recalled. “They grabbed me from my family. They put us in a truck, about 50 of us, and we just drove. We didn’t know where we were going.”

They were going to the soldiers’ camp where in time the youngsters, like so many other “lost boys of Sudan,” would be transformed into the child soldiers who were so prevalent in Sudan’s brutal civil war.

Next week, he will compete in China for the United States Olympic Track Team.

God bless America.

The brilliant E. Christian Kopff (his “Devil Knows Latin” is a must read) reminds me that on this day in 1540: Lutheran clergyman Robert Barnes was burned as a heretic after being used by Thomas Cromwell and King Henry VIII to gain European support for their antipapal movement in England.

Dr. Kopff also notes that his radio show was canceled as well.

Thank God we do not face such persecution. We would do well to remember the example of Pastor Barnes.

Gene Veith linked to this interesting post by “Father Hollywood” called “The Church: Rent and Distressed.” Below is an extended excerpt:

The assigned sermon hymn in the one year series for Lutherans using Lutheran Service Book for this past Sunday was a beloved modern American piece entitled “The Church’s One Foundation.”

Written in 1866 AD, this hymn proclaims the mysteries of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. In the first stanza alone, the author 1) proclaims the centrality and the divinity of the divine person of Jesus Christ to the Church – linking the theological disciplines of christology and ecclesiology, 2) joins together eschatology (“new creation”) and sacramentology in a biblical baptismal reference (“by water and the Word”), 3) invokes the incarnation, the monergism of grace, and the mystery of the Church as the Bride of Christ, and 4) introduces the sacrificial theme of the atonement.

And that’s just stanza one.

The third stanza, however, is painfully poignant today. The author speaks of the Church “oppressed.” Surprisingly, the author is not speaking of external persecution in the worldly sense (e.g. the Roman arena and cross, Communism, Islam), but rather “by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed.”

For this is how the Church is truly oppressed, internally, by her most vicious enemy: the devil.

. . .

Luther considered the “cross” – that is persecution, to be a “mark of the Church.” If Satan is not working night and day to destoy you, you have become uninteresting to him. Only one who is hopelessly lost has that kind of “luxury.” As long as the Bride of Christ endures in the fallen world (and our Lord promises that not even the gates of hell will prevail against her) the true Church will suffer the assaults of schism and heresy bubbling up from within.

Some see our church body “by schisms rent asunder, by heresies oppressed” and conclude that this cannot be the Church. For certainly, the Church, the true Church, would not be rent and distressed. For such people, the cross is not a mark of the Church, but rather a mark of not being Church.

. . .

These are the kinds of things that converts, and those seeking converts, are not eager to discuss – any more than we Lutherans are too keen on talking about the blasphemous abominations that occur in places bearing the name “Lutheran”. These things are painful and grievous, but the Church, East and West, has always been “rent asunder” and “distressed” by both internal “schisms” and even by “heresies” emerging from within.

But these things in no way negate the faithful remnants within Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Protestantism as being constituent parts of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. In fact, the East’s long history of struggles – theological and political – only serve to confirm that she, like the rest of the Church Catholic, is an enemy of the devil – because she is most certainly a part of the Bride of Christ.

While there is a place for theological debate, and even at times, polemics – we Christians would do well not to lose sight of who our real enemy is, as well as who our faithful Husband shall always be.

All Christians can indeed sing together stanza five of “The Church’s One Foundation”:

Yet she on earth has union
With God, the Three in One.
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O blessed heav’nly chorus!
Lord, save us by Your grace
That we, like saints before us,
May see you face to face.

I think “Father Hollywood” has it spot on. Disagree?

I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.

– Horatius Bonar, “Not What My Hands Have Done”

I did not think it was possible, but I think the Democrats have nominated a candidate with a bigger ego than Bill Clinton! This guy is head over heels in love with himself! “We are the ones we have been waiting for!” he declared! He was using “we” in the same sense that king’s use it.

This Brit, Gerard Baker, has written an excellent satire of the Obama-megolamania:

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

This is a great editorial in the WSJ:

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a “W.”

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I believe history will judge George W. Bush kindly, and more fairly than he is currently being judged. For better (I believe) or for worse (many others attest), he has kept us safe since 9/11. On September 12th, 2001, no one imagined that was even remotely possible.

P.S.,

He also has Bruce Wayne’s spending habits.

How I wonder how distant you are

How I wonder how distant you are

How far away are the stars?

This is a great question for creationists. The reason is that unlike the varied techniques used to determine the age of the Earth, the distance to the stars is determined  by the behavior of light, and the behavior of light is agreed upon: Things farther away look smaller and dimmer than things close up; Similar objects will emit similar amounts of light; Objects moving toward or away from us will have the frequency of their light shifted. And importantly, because the speed of light is fixed, distance is equal to time.

The stars form a microcosm of the creationist’s response to the old Earth theories and the theory of the evolutionary descent of man. If one argues that the physicists have misunderstood or covered up the real laws of physics with regard to astronomy, one will argue that with the old Earth theories and the evolution of man. If one argues for unknown extra physical laws in astronomy, one will likely invoke them with relationship to the Earth and evolution. And if one argues, as I would, the creation of an old-looking heavens (and indeed, wouldn’t it have to look like something?) one would certainly argue the same for the Earth and for man himself.

So where do Lutherans stand? How far away are the stars?

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