Main Menu

Show posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Show posts Menu

Topics - RogerMartim

Your Turn / The American Flag
January 19, 2020, 10:51:23 AM
I have long wondered about what I call our fetish with the American flag. I love my country and I probably would not live elsewhere, but I am of a firm belief that God is not the God of the good ol' USA, but that God is the God of the universe. Sometimes I feel that the flag adulation is way out of proportion—our Baal or Golden Calf. The article in the Fall 2019 Lutheran Forum, "It's Time to Turn and Face the Flag" by Heather Choate Davis is timely and I was happy to see that I am not the only one with this concern.

I worked at a church in the East for many years. A new pastor had come in and he endeavored to remove the flag from its exalted place next to the altar. WWIII started, but after a long time he was able to win over with his gentle persuasion. Nowadays no one even gives it a second thought.

Not so with my mother's church (LCMS) in the Midwest where the flag is stationed prominently at the altar with the state flag alongside. On July 4th and other patriotic holidays someone in the parish festoons an entire city-block length with the Stars and Stripes every couple of feet where the church is located. It is on a major street and so it isn't missed by many. It is embarrassing as far as I am concerned. About 15 years ago the pastor, a retired navy chaplain, had the church spend over $6,000 for three flag poles at the narthex end of the church outside with the US flag in the center and the tallest with the state flag and the LCMS flag on either side. So much for good use of stewardship.

Again, I don't think that the flag deserves such prominence in the churches that is almost in direct competition with the symbol of our faith, the Cross.
Your Turn / "And lead us not into temptation..."
October 04, 2019, 11:55:53 AM
In the August 2019 issue of The Lutheran Witness there was an article by Gene Edward Veith, a retired professor. I am not sure if he was connected with Concordia Seminary but does direct the Cranach Institute there currently.
In his article he makes mention that the Pope recently made a change in the Italian Our Father to clarify "and lead us not into temptation" to "do not let us fall into temptation." Professor Veith mentioned that the pontiff "still exemplifies what the Reformation found so problematic about the papacy." He goes on to say that the pope is asserting his authority over Scripture.
I kind of got the impression that the Anti-Christ sentiment is alive and well in some LCMS circles when speaking of the Pope in 2019 following some 50 plus years of dialogues with the RC Church.
To be sure, "And lead us not into temptation" is troublesome for many to understand thinking that God could be the active agent in the leading. I understand that lead us not is in the original Greek. Curiously though that Professor Veith objects to the Pope changing the wording in Italian to "do not let us fall into temptation," this phrase is exactly what it is in both Spanish and Portuguese in their Lutheran hymnals: y no nos dejes caer en la tentación (Spanish) and e não nos deixes cair em tentação (Portuguese).
I found the article very misleading.
Your Turn / Religious Liberty?
May 04, 2017, 12:05:23 PM
It's a sad day in America when Trump blurred the line between church and state.

This would allow politics from the pulpit. Does this mean that a pastor can tell his/her congregation how they should vote?

Of course, this would apply only to Christians.

Would a radicalized imam be allowed to spew hate in the mosques?

This from a president who thought there were only two Corinthians hanging around.
Your Turn / A National Prayer Breakfast Like No Other
February 04, 2017, 10:52:20 AM
This is who we voted for to lead our nation for the next four years.
Your Turn / Let's have a pleasant interlude...
December 04, 2016, 06:22:18 PM
...instead of lobbying salvos at each other questioning orthodoxy or not.

I know we are only in the Advent season, but with being inundated all around us that Christmas is breathing down our necks, what is a Christmas favorite for you?

I have not seen it for a few seasons on television, but a favorite of mine had been "Amahl and the Night Visitors." Gian Carlo Menotti's composition captures much of the spirit that resonates this time of year. Such wonderful melodic and operatic lines in a make-believe story but still inspiring. I will have to carefully check the channel line-up to see if it will be on television this year.

My Mom went to the Augsburg Choir Advent Vespers Concert yesterday in Minneapolis. I could see the glow on her face as she told me about it this morning.

What's your cup of tea?
Your Turn / July 4th—the New High Holy Day
July 03, 2016, 09:22:51 PM
When did it become such?

After Christmas and Easter, the Church seems to be putting out all the stops that July 4th be celebrated to the extreme.

All the hymns today at church were all about USA. The Prayer of the Church reflected the same. Flags were planted around the block. When did God become the God of the USA? I thought he was the God of the universe. Is not God a God of a Brazilian, a German, a Tanzanian?

In this election year we have come up with candidates who smirk, call names, and extol family values in which they practice none. And we certainly don't want anyone to be denied their right to have an assault gun.

The false patriotism and flag worshipping are the Golden Calves of the 20th and 21st century. Really folks, we need to look beyond our own noses.
Your Turn / An Exception to the Rule
July 03, 2016, 08:58:08 PM
My aunt who is 88 is dying from lymphoma. She has been LCMS all her life and remains so. A good number of her family however are members of ELCA.

She called her LCMS pastor and requested that she wanted her family to be with her when it will probably be the last time she will ever be able to physically go to church. She asked him if it would be OK that the ELCA relatives receive communion with her. These ELCA folks are every bit of faithful Christians as she is and they take their faith seriously.

The pastor emphatically said MOST CERTAINLY that they would be welcome to commune. This pastor is by every stretch of the imagination a true LCMS pastor. He adheres to any of the strictures that St. Louis provides for him the right path. He also knows that there are just a few points of disagreements that stand between his church body and other Lutheran entities but we are grateful that he didn't deny the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the Sacrament to all those who believe.

Your Turn / Muhammad Ali
June 04, 2016, 09:55:06 PM
How are we Lutherans supposed to respond to "The Greatest"?

Ali's death supplanted all other news today. You'd think that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn't even exist.

I've never liked boxing. I think that Ali punched himself into oblivion leading to the brain damage of the last 32 years. He never left the ring without his face all bloodied and swollen. What's so great about that?
Your Turn / AIDS Revisited
March 15, 2016, 12:45:23 PM
I see that Pastor Speckhard locked the thread in regards to Nancy Reagan.

We go all over the board in our observations and they become confusing and so I do understand why Pastor Speckhard decided to close it.

I am interested however in continuing the conversation. I was criticized twice over, but not one person on this board has commented or lamented that AIDS was an issue over and above. For goodness sake, thousands of people died over the implications of the wish that it didn't exist.

Nowadays AIDS is a disease that is treatable like diabetes but the illness remains a threat and we must not treat it as a "homo" disease which is so obvious world-wide.
Your Turn / Martin Lutero Square in Rome
August 27, 2015, 11:09:56 AM
The Vatican has approved naming a square after Martin Luther in Rome. This was at the request of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Seems strange with the SDA and the Lutheran churches so at variance with each other in many areas.
...from all the heavy-handed subjects.

What is your favorite musical mass or any other music which employs a religious text?

Mine is Mozart's C-minor Mass, K. 427, but in particular the soprano solo of Christe eleison. It's hard to beat Verdi's Requiem too.
Your Turn / Just How Many Sacraments Are There?
January 18, 2015, 03:48:24 PM
I am reading Arthur Carl Piepkorn's magnificent tome "Profiles in Belief" and am only in the chapter of the Church of the Augsburg Confession which he seems to prefer to the termoniology of Lutheranism.

Ask any Lutheran and they would probably say there are two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

ACP adds that there is a third great sacrament, Confession and Absolution. Enumeration of sins is not important since it is impossible. Yet it is not stressed at all. Why is that? I worked in a church office for 19 years and the pastor there kept open his office for anyone who would avail themself of this means of grace but none ever showed up.

I haven't gotten as far where ACP considers Holy Orders as a sacrament.

Are there 2, 3, 4, or 7? It seems that ACP treats matrimony, last anointing, and confirmation as secondary sacraments.
Your Turn / Jesus as Personal Lord and Savior
January 08, 2015, 01:20:57 PM
I know this isn't Lutheranspeak but I have heard a few Lutherans express their faith that they have "accepted" Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Just the other day in the newspaper there was an obituary that quoted this very same thing and that the woman was a life-long Lutheran. My mother's neighbors who have always been Mr. and Mrs. Lutheran left the Lutheran church because not enough of us are expressing that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior. (They left to join a megachurch.)

While I wouldn't say that it is exactly heretical language, there seems to me that there is a form of work-righteousness at play here that if you haven't "accepted" you aren't going anywhere.

As a pastor, would you counter this view or not?
Your Turn / The Pulpit
August 29, 2014, 09:03:06 PM
Is the pulpit going the wayside?

I attended two funerals in the last month -- one at an ELCA church and another at an LCMS church.

Both churches are fairly new edifices with a stage-like chancel area. Think an auditorium with a stage the entire width of the building. Ugly, I might add.

Both pastors (one a woman and the other a man) during their homilies at the funerals walked back and forth the entire stage as they preached. The woman pastor had on quite high heels that went click, clack, click clack -- quite noisy and distracting.

For hearing challenged persons, it is dependent on us to use every resource there is to understand speech and this includes facial expressions, speech reading, etc. Half of that time while walking in an opposite direction, much is missed.

There is another type of preaching area in which a pastor will step down from the chancel to stand in front of the congregation. My mother is short and she too is hearing challenged at age 91. She can't see the pastor and so she misses everything. She sits as close as she can to the front but if there is someone who is taller in front of her, she still misses out. She can see the pulpit easily and she misses it when the pastor does not preach from it.

Isn't there a reason for a pulpit?

Your Turn / The US Flag
July 06, 2014, 10:24:12 PM
Does it have an importance in a Lutheran's worship piety?

The church I attend (one that I was baptized, confirmed in, first commuion, etc.) planted 50 flags around its property in celebration of Independence Day which occurred two days before. I am sure that it is at the discretion of enthusiastic members of Men's Club. It's sort of like enthusiastic members of the Altar Guild who exert their influence on the chancel that often has an "overkill" flavor.

There was no other church in my city that made such an ostentatious display of patriotism. The service itself was OK with only mention of July 4 in the final hymn, Before You, Lord, We Bow, with lyrics by Francis Scott Key, which mentions the Crucified -- a Christological hymn. So that was OK with me.

Many, if not most, of our founding fathers of this country were Deists who paid homage to the god of the philosophers that St. Paul mentioned in his epistles.

My God is the God of the universe who sent his Son to save us. He is not the God of the good Ol' USA as so many think. God is the God of those who are in conflict in the midst of many trouble spots of the world: Nigeria, Honduras, the Middle East, and yes, even Tonga somewhere in the South Pacific.

To me, the US flag is the modern day golden calf.
Your Turn / Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
April 20, 2014, 05:55:18 PM
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.
Your Turn / I think this pastor should be defrocked...
January 14, 2014, 04:50:20 PM
...for making a mockery of our faith.

For some dedicated football fans, Sunday games tend to take precedent over basically everything else in life. And a pastor in Montana is no exception -- especially when kickoff interferes with church services.

This is Pastor Tim Christensen of Goldhill Lutheran Church in Montana. He was sked to lead the 11am service, the same time the 49ers and Panthers were scheduled to kick off on TV.

That's quite the dilemma. So he decided to speed things up a little, cutting his service down to only a minute.

'I was thinking we might have just a little bit of an abbreviated service,' he told the congregation. Then asks, 'Would you all like to be forgiven for your sins? OK, that's great, you are ... There's some bread and some wine up here on the table -- you feel free to help yourself if you'd like to.'

Though Christensen said he doesn't have any vested interest in the game, he proves otherwise false when he goes on to take off his robe displaying a bright red 49ers shirt.

Talk about setting your priorities!

GMA's Josh Elliot chimed in during morning coverage saying he wishes this is something his pastor would have done when he was young and growing up in LA. 'I would say, 'Mom, God wants me to watch this game,' a fight I never won.'

While this far-from typical Sunday morning is making the rounds and even getting some flack, turns out the hurried service is actually prank. The entire congregation knows Christensen is a big 49ers fan, and he held a full service afterwards.

Your Turn / Does LCMS turn the other eye...
December 27, 2013, 08:45:34 PM
...when it comes to loose affiliations?

There was an obituary in my newspaper the other day of a woman who with her husband were active and faithful members of their LCMS church. Yet they also attended a so-called free-evangelical church and were active in that as well. The funeral took place in the free evangelical church. (I am not sure what a free-evangelical church is, but I am quite certain that it wasn't Lutheran.)

Then a week or two ago there was another obituary of a man who was a member of an LCMS church and whose funeral would take place in his church. Yet it also had quite a write-up that he was a high official in freemasonry.

Both took place at different LCMS churches. I'd have to assume that the pastors in these churches knew of these affiliations all along, but chose to ignore them.

I think I would have a lot of trouble dealing with situations of these types which are so at variance to LCMS policies, but perhaps these were done in the name of Christian charity.
Your Turn / Pope Francis in the news again...
September 20, 2013, 06:24:43 PM
I am a bit skeptical of the secular media in being able to convey to the world-at-large what Pope Francis really means in his recent statements, but let's say that it got it right. The Church has been too focused on issues that do not impact a huge, huge, huge  segment of society. What to do? Birth Control? Divorce? Homosexuality?

Again, let's just say that the media got it right. Pope Francis doesn't seem to be hung up on these issues.

Is LC-MS is going to be left behind with the fundamentalists, an anachronism in modern Christianity? Europe is dead because of this. America is next?
Your Turn / New French Church
July 08, 2013, 04:21:22 PM
A friend of mine sent this to me in an e-mail and I verified it in The Lutheran magazine. With the deterioration of faith in many parts of Europe I suppose this was the way to go in France. The article was too sparse to determine what was agreed upon and what was compromised in the theological positions of both the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church of France. The two church bodies did have great differences at one time. I don't foresee a great revival or renewal of the church though.

From the July issue of The Lutheran:
French Protestants Unite
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of France and the Reformed Church of France officially united May 11 to form the 400,000-member United Protestant Church of France. That's in a country where more than half of the population now claims to be agnostic or atheist, said Laurent Schlumberger, national council president of the new church. Schlumberger told Ecumenical News that "for five centuries, being Protestant in France meant not being Catholic. ... But that world has changed. ... French Protestantism can no longer exist by defining itself over against another religious group."

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk