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Messages - MEKoch

As noted above, I recommend you read The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware.  Followed by The Orthodox Way also by Timothy Ware.  I have recently completed both books.  Ware writes well and clearly.  For whatever reason, it took me 50 years to appreciate the eastern church and the many gifts it brings to the Christian faith.
Your Turn / Re: Divisive Proverbs (Satire)
April 29, 2024, 06:12:59 PM
Any institution or congregation that has no allowable humor and is very stiff, is not a pleasant place to be.  I think people can feel that in five minutes after entering a worship service.  They notice it on people's faces, by their comments, gestures, etc.  People flee from such groups and they seek out a healthier alternative.

We take God's Word seriously, as we should, because it is our life and ministry.  But rigidity is not a welcoming quality.  People think they do not fit it.  They leave and look elsewhere. 

I remember professors and pastors who embraced the odd, the strange, the adulterer, the displaced, the uninformed, the seeker.  Those leaders let people know that this is the place where the Gospel and Jesus are front and center.
People who are fundamentally unhappy with their body, do not need drugs or surgery.  I would hope that first they would go and have a very thorough medical exam. Then have a psychological exam.  Surgery on those who are under 18 years of age should be illegal. 

Finally (not in that order) may they find a compassionate pastor who will listen to them and form a relationship with them, so that they feel part of the Body of Christ.  I have never pushed away people who have come to me and confessed their sins or just needed to talk about their feelings, fantasies, gender confusion, adultery, etc.  My experience is that they are very lonely and have not heard God's forgiveness of their sins.  Their family often does not know what to do or say.  There is shame and rejection involved by people close to them. 

Michael Koch
Your Turn / Re: Concordia-Texas update
February 09, 2024, 02:14:18 PM
My son and family live about 1 mile from the CTX campus.  So when we visit the "grand ones" I usually take a walk over to the campus.  Austin has enjoyed wild growth in the past ten years.  It is a HOT property.  Houses surrounding CTX are at least $500k to way over a million.  I am writing this to note that this campus is worth lots of money.  It is attractive and very well located. 
I assume Concordia Seminary in St. Louis has a endowment.  It has a long history, but the graduates work for modest wages. 
A UCC congregation in Chesterland, OH was similarly vandalized when they also hosted a drag queen event for children. 
Your Turn / Re: Narcissistic personality disorder
April 20, 2023, 08:16:16 PM
Narcissistic pastors can destroy congregations by setting one group against another group.  When confronted, they blame everyone else. 

These pastors are dangerous people, who are loners, and listen to no one. 

"Oh, he will grow out of this stage of life," said one layman.  It did not happen. 
Your Turn / Asbury Seminary & Cedarville Univ
February 20, 2023, 04:31:22 PM
I am following very distantly on the news a "revival" at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY.  Then a similar thing started Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH.  Asbury is Methodist (traditional?).   Cedarville is Baptist.  It is described as an all-day revival that continues with students, faculty and outsiders.  Their chapels are filled with over 1000 people.  People come and go and it continues.  I would imagine a lot of singing, praying, testimonies, scripture readings, sermons, etc. 

From a historical viewpoint does this share anything with the Pietists of Europe?  The enthusiasts?  It reminds me of the Charismatic movement of the late 60s and early 70s.

From a cultural viewpoint I see a culture in ferment, and very unhappy with our country, our churches, our religious life, our leaders.  In Ohio, where I am, there are many Lutheran churches, but they are dying.  Big ELCA churches are getting 25 per week.  And most people I see in worship are boomers. 

Your Turn / Re: Theology of transgenderism
January 24, 2023, 08:10:55 PM
Roman Catholic theologian John Grabowski wrote:  UNRAVELING GENDER - The Battle over Sexual Difference.   TAN

I have read the book and it is a theological presentation about Gender dysphoria.  Grabowski will be speaking to the NALC pastor's conference next week in San Antonio.  Basic to his discussion is Genesis 1:27. 
Your Turn / Re: Dr. James Nestingen, RIP
January 05, 2023, 08:05:57 PM
While I never had Nestingen as a professor in seminary, he was a frequent teacher at pastor's conferences.  About two years ago he presented the "Grammar of the Gospel."

1.   Christ is always the subject of the verb:  he is the one working, acting, healing, casting out demons, feeding the hungry.  We are acted upon and not the ones acting.  Therefore, we preach Christ and not ourselves.  Two rare exceptions: Syrophoenician woman and the woman with a flow of blood.

2.   His actions are always unconditional and finished:  "Your sins (all and every) are forgiven for Jesus' sake."   Our work is conditional and sinful.  He forgives us and those who sin against us.  "In the stead and by his authority, I forgive you your sins."  "Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant (name).  Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming."

3.   We are the direct object of his actions:  "Given for you"    He delivers the goods. No maybes, no ifs, not works by us, no dependent clauses.  Given and shed for us. 

4.   The Gospel is always in the present tense.  Yes, our justification happened on the cross (past time), but the Good News is for today. Nestingen recounted how he was holding a dying man.  He said: "The next voice you will hear is Christ Jesus calling you out of your tomb." 
Your Turn / Re: Benedict XVI +
January 05, 2023, 08:00:46 PM
Papa Benedito in his Christmas Address to the Roman Curia in 2012 saw the coming storm regarding gender.  He noted that a unbiblical understanding has taken root with people "choosing" their own gender. We have become our own creators, independent of God.  Such thinking undermines God as creator and author of the universe.  People thus lose their dignity and God is forgotten.  He called attention to Genesis 1:27: "Male and female he created them." 

I give thanks for his clear theological thinking as our world melts in a personal mush, where we lose our vocations as husband - wife, male - female. 

Michael Koch
May the media give the picture you are painting of your Neighborhood. 

Could you invite them on a tour of St. Peter, your neighborhood, housing, and the community as you see it?    Their vision of East New York is likely much too small and narrow.  Have them meet the real people of East New York, and not their media stereotypes, which were created to sell sell sell their TV audience on violence and other deviant behaviors.   
Your Turn / Re: St. Paul's Lutheran HS-- Concordia, MO
September 26, 2022, 10:02:46 AM
I am also a product of SPHS & Junior College (1960-66).  Yes, Norman Gienapp taught me Greek.  John Domsch for German.  Larry Grothaus for social studies, etc.

Since our classes were small (about 25) we literally grew up with our classmates.  It was our family in the best sense, and our tormentors in the worst sense.  In October my classes are having a small reunion in St. Louis on October 12.  I look forward to being with my classmates and enjoying a long fellowship in Jesus Christ. 

In 1960 when I arrived in Concordia, MO the town church, St. Paul, had Lenten services.  If you did not arrive about 15 minutes early, you probably were searching for a seat.  And the church seated about 800-900.  But now I would suppose it struggles as my generation is dying out. 
Your Turn / Re: Community At the Crossing
September 14, 2022, 02:47:26 PM
The video is 63 minutes.  I watched the first 30 minutes and it is informative and interesting, with a nice description of the community they hope to bring together and its purpose.  Lutherans could certainly profit by modeling what they are doing. 

In a distant way for me, the Society of the Holy Trinity, has become my community in which I daily pray and worship.  While we only gather four times per year, it is the formation of a ministerium of pastors that is most important in supporting one another and calling one another to be accountable. 

Their target audience of young Christians I think is the proper target.  Formation experiences are so very important for young Christians.  Research shows that these experiences shape their whole life and Christian vocation.  I remember being dragged to daily chapel services in high school and college, and now I see their importance in forming me.

Michael Koch
Your Turn / Re: Interview with the Babylon Bee
September 07, 2022, 08:41:15 PM
When a congregation or a family has no laughter, no humor, then WATCH OUT.  There is hidden tension; hidden anxiety; hidden fear. 

A pastor interviewing at another congregation should take note and observe this carefully.
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