Monday, July 30, 2007
And true to form, it looks like he stumped 'em.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Record holder or not, amazing player or not, gambling on a sport where you have some control of the outcome (and I don't believe Pete Rose had the self-control or the desire to stay away from gambling on his own team, or as Commissioner Stern said "when you gamble, you lose the benefit of the doubt), not to mention putting the sport into the hands of organized crime, should automatically leave you ineligible for the Hall of Fame. A Hall of Famer should be more than a record holder, he should be someone who lifted up the game and made it better.
While I was at it, I decided to take a picture of my big baby, Scully. He's about 6 months now. Can you say "major destructive force." We're just hoping the new pet screen holds up. He is a real sweetie.
We take him to my parents' place on the lake and try to convince him that he likes water. He's not buying it too much. I want to take him to the seminary and see if herding geese wouldn't provide more motivation. The neighbor's Shih Tzu comes over and barks at him, and Scully barks and runs away, and when the neighbors come to get their dog, then he comes out and gives a couple of intimidating barks. Big sissy.
Big difference from the little guy that captured our hearts. I don't think a day has gone by so far where I don't look at him and say "you're bigger than yesterday."
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Personal Style Quiz Rules: You have to choose one of the two. You cannot answer "neither" or "both." You can indicate that you like both or neither, but you must state a preference.
Animal fiber or plant? To knit with or to wear? I like to knit with wool, but I wear cotton almost exclusively.
Natural or synthetic? Natural....though I have been known to wear rayon...but not polyester...gotta hate polyester.
Ornate or simple? Simple...absolutely.
Color or neutral? I love burgundies and rich deep colors. But I wear them with neutrals.
Jeans are neutral, right?
Pastel or vibrant? Pastel. I don't do vibrant well.
Blue/green or red/orange? Blue/green.
White gold or yellow gold? Yellow gold. Though I really like this one particular white gold ring I saw on a friend's hand recently ;)
Gems or texture? I have texture on my wedding ring, so I'll say texture, but I am a sucker for sapphires. My birthstone AND my favorite color, at least if they are the dark ones..but not so dark that they look black.
Watch or no-watch? No watch, for the moment. I go back and forth.
Comfort or fashion? Comfort. Jeans and a comfy sweater fit any body type, right?
Trendy or classic? Classic
Cables or lace? I don't really wear either, but I'll choose cables. They sound a lot more comfy.
Heels or flats? Flats. Heels are evil.
Flip-flops or sandals? Sandals
Skirts or pants? Pants, though I like long skirts. Those are comfy, too.
Geometric or floral? Floral, definitely, but a small print floral, not a big print.
V-neck or turtle-neck? Well, I'm going to say v-neck...though I like rounded necks better.
Skulls or butterflies? Ewww....sorry, gonna break the rules. I don't like either, and you can't make me choose!!! I'm not the Rebellious Pastor's Wife for nothing!!! I always actually wanted to get a daisy on my shoulder blade or above my ankle, but now it seems a little too common. I worked as a CNA for a while when my hubby was in seminary, and I still have visions of what all of these women will look like with their tattoos when some CNA has to change our adult diapers....
Loose or snug? Loose.
Long hair or short? It depends on whether halfway between the ears and the shoulders is long or not. The hair magazines consider it to be so. So long, at least long enough to wear it back. But once it gets past my shoulders, I usually get frustrated and cut it off.
Headbands or barrettes? barrettes...one big one on top of my head. Maybe I have a funky shaped head or unruly hair, but I can't make a pair of them work. Never could. Plastic headbands give me headaches and cloth ones just slip right off.
Shoulder bag or handbag? I LIKE shoulderbags better, but have never met one yet that will stay on my shoulder. I HATE purses. DESPISE them. I usually carry a wallet attached to my keys and give my husband and my mother a nervous breakdown because I almost lose them and I need help to keep track of them. But I do better with them than I do purses. I've left perfectly nice purses all over the country.
Okay.....Lets see, I think Jenny has been tagged, but she hasn't done it yet, so I'm going to tag her, Presbytera, Muddy Boots, and Susan.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
J asked if I disagreed with the Augsburg Confession because it clearly says "baptism is necessary for salvation" and yet, I stated that the thief on the cross was saved.
The answer is "No, I don't disagree with the Augsburg Confession," and neither does Luther, who didn't write the Augsburg Confession - but approved it and provided quite a bit of feedback for it -- but he wasn't allowed at the presentation of it. Philip Melancthon, Luther's colleague is considered the primary author.
But Luther clearly believes that the thief on the cross is saved.
We who are godly, however, simply stand fast in the truth and with the thief on the cross rely on Him who is eternal. Their promises will be reliable. It is as if He were saying: “You, Christian, must not doubt, even though you may see the opposite. I will give faithfully and certainly; I will accomplish it.” Luther's Works, v. 17, Lectures on Isaiah, ch 40-66
Here speaks and judges one who did not suck woman’s milk but virgin’s milk, and was so poor on the cross he had nowhere to lay his head [ Matt. 8:20 ], and yet in that very place gave Paradise and the kingdom of heaven to the thief [ Luke 23:43 ], and in the manger was worshiped by all the angels in heaven. Luther's works, vol. 33 : Career of the Reformer III
As long as we have pure teaching he will not harm us, but if the teaching is wrong we are done for. But praise be to God, who gave us the Word and also allowed his only Son to die for us! He did not do this in vain. Accordingly we should entertain the hope that we are saints, that we are saved, and that this will be manifest when it is revealed. Since Christ accepted the thief on the cross 37 just as he was and received Paul after all his blasphemies and persecutions, 38 we have no reason to despair. As a matter of fact, all of us must be saved just as the thief and Paul were. Good God, what do you think it means that he has given his only Son? It means that he also offers whatever else he possesses. We have no reason, therefore, to fear his wrath, although we must continue to fear on account of the old Adam, who is still unable to understand this as it ought to be understood.
37 Cf. Luke 23:39–43 .
38 Cf. Gal. 1:13 . ibid.
So it is clear that Luther believes that the thief on the cross is saved. And here is the one quote that I have found that addresses why.
“The thief [on the cross] 84 sinned unknowingly and not in defiance of God’s mercy or out of contempt for the Word, which he hadn’t heard until he was crucified. Consequently this example doesn’t support those who have contempt in our time or those who postpone participating in the sacrament of Christ until the hour of death.”
84 Cf. Luke 23:39–43 .. Luther's works, vol. 54 : Table Talk
and this one might be relevant, too:
Finally I claim that if some one had not been baptized, but did not know it and firmly believed that he had been rightly baptized, that faith would be sufficient for him. For before God he has what he believes. Luther's works, vol. 40 : Church and Ministry II
Luther also provided comfort to those who had lost babies due to miscarriage or stillbirth by saying that he trusts that babies who have not been baptized are not damned because God knows that the parents would've brought them to baptism.
One of the basic foundational tenets of Lutheran theology is that we divide all Scripture into two basic doctrines - the Law and the Gospel. Everything in the Bible falls under these two categories. The Law is anything the Bible says we are supposed to do. The Gospel is anything that tells us what God has done for us. The Law shows us our sin and leads us to repentance. The Gospel tells us that we are forgiven and saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now here is the thing...is baptism law or gospel?
Most denominations who believe that it is an outward symbol of what God has already done for us, would say that it was Law. Lutherans say the point isn't stepping up to the font and having the pastor pour water on us. The point is the gifts that God gives us through baptism. He saves us, gives us His Holy Spirit, forgives our sins, cleanses us, unites us with Christ's death and resurrection, and strengthens our faith. Baptism is completely about what GOD does.
It isn't our righteous act of stepping to the font and submitting to the water that saves us, because then we would be contributing to our salvation. Luther says that the pastor is only lending God his hands. God does it all. But if we state that baptism isn't important, that we don't need it, then we are despising God's command, and that is something completely different.
There are three places where God brings us to faith and strengthens us, giving us his Holy Spirit. We call these things "means of grace." A person can come to faith by the Word. The Holy Spirit can work through the Word of God and brings faith. He also does the same thing through His sacraments - baptism and Holy Communion, which are common elements united to God's Word to bring forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God gives us all three to feed and sustain us through our daily life. Baptism is a rebirth, the Word and the Lord's Supper continually feed us. It's not that baptism isn't continually present....Luther says we are to always remember we are born into Christ through our baptism, and continually seek comfort in it.
But as I said before, for fear of contradicting Scripture, we refuse to step beyond what Scripture says, even when typical logic seems like it should. Scripture says "Believe and be baptized" in order to be saved, but it only says unbelief condemns. It never says "if are not baptized you will be condemned." It is unbelief that ignores God's command to be baptized and receive the gift He promised for us --refusal to trust in God's promises. Even though God gives us faith and forgiveness of sins through His Word, he still says we need to receive it through the Sacraments also. Not as a checklist of requirements, but because He is a loving father and He loves to give to us what we need and what feeds our souls and teaches us to love Him as well.
But Christ clearly says the thief on the cross is going to be with Him in paradise - that day. I can't believe otherwise. And since I know that the important part of baptism is what Jesus does, and that He also brings us to faith through the other ways that He established, then I know the thief on the cross believed by his confession, and Christ's acknowledgement of that. So I leave it at that.
This can be quite a struggle. In most situations, our logic is good but at times there are things our sinful nature cannot comprehend, or God chooses to not give us more information than we need to know. In the end, Scripture must reign supreme. This is where Luther left it, and it is one of those issues where he says that if we take it further than Scripture itself takes it, then we end up going away from Scripture entirely -- either by making it something symbolic and a work that we perform -- or by stating that baptism is completely unnecessary.
Monday, July 16, 2007
When I was in high school, we studied this poem by Anne Bradstreet, and it became the focus of what I wanted in a husband. I know I posted it last year, but I always return to it every anniversary and thank God that He answered my prayer.
To My Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
I love you, Honey. Happy Anniversary.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Thank you very much. I've gotten differing positions from Lutherans with whom I've talked of the Lord's Supper and Baptism. Some hold that partaking of the LS forgives sins, while a others don't. Likewise
for Baptism, with most saying it is absolutely necessary for salvation, while other don't hold it as absolutely necessary.
All of a sudden I thought I might have seen a reason for the disagreement! Oh well, I guess not.
J, I can see a few reasons why there would be an inconsistency...
1. As with all Christians, there is a varying familiarity with Scripture and with doctrine.
2. And also as is going on in most Christian church bodies around the world, there are different church bodies using the same name that vary in their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. It is a real time of struggling with the very idea of Pilate's question: "What is truth?"
I belong to a denomination - the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which does take a strong doctrinal stance on the inerrancy of Scripture, and also abides by the teachings found in the Book of Concord - which are defenses of the faith that were written in the 16th century, and are still proclaimed by us to be faithful expositions on the teachings of Scripture. But we have those struggles within our synod, too.
I also use the label "confessional" to apply to my beliefs, which also means that I believe that the Book of Concord is a faithful exposition of Scripture, and that I hold precious the faith that has been handed down from Luther and his fellow Lutheran reformers. There is a good description of that here.
If you were talking with someone from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a much more liberal church body, the answers that you get would probably be very different than mine. Then again, they might be the same.
3. The third reason that I can see for this "difference in opinion" is one that is particularly Lutheran in character.
We refuse to go beyond what Scripture tells us, especially if reason would put us in contradiction with Scripture. Reason is often a tool that helps us understand Scripture, but if our reason puts us in contradiction with Scripture, then our reason, corrupted by our sinful nature, is in error. This, I think is a very sound approach, but it can be confusing in a discussion.
A good example of that is the doctrine of election. We know from Scripture that some are chosen to be saved:
"and unless those days were shortened; no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened." Matthew 24:22
"And He ill send HIs angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:31
"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, bahta we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," Ephesians 1:5-6
"But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." Acts 9:15-16
"And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." Acts 13:48b
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9
"But we are bound to give tanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from teh beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Sprit and belief in the truth." 2 Thessalonians 2:13
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30
"For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10So that leads Calvinists to proclaim that some are chosen to be damned. That seems logical, except for the fact that it never says that, and instead it says:
"For God so loved THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the should be saved through Him." John 3:16-17
"Therefore, as through one man's offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." Romans 5:18
"...and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis 12:3b
"Turn to me to be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men" Titus 2:11So we hold to the doctrine of predestination, but refuse to say that God chose some to be damned (double predestination - or the "predestination" that is taught in our U.S. History textbooks when referring to the "harsh" religion of the Puritans). Instead, we believe that there is a piece that we are not given, and that we, in our limited, sinful reason, cannot understand.
Baptism is the same way. As I listed a plethora of verses here that show that baptism is necessary for salvation, I'm not going to re-post them. But I will focus on this one:
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16
It specifically says: "believe and be baptized," and with all of the other verses that tell us how important baptism is and the gifts received in baptism, we baptize, and we believe through baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins, and as Luther says "where there is forgiveness of sins, there is salvation." And this verse, along with other verses say that baptism is necessary.
Now, does not being baptized damn? Nowhere does it say that. "But whoever does not believe will be condemned."
"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18
Unbelief condemns. A baptized person will be condemned if they do not believe.
Everyone who argues against baptism being necessary points to the thief on the cross. Was he baptized? We have no idea. Did he have faith? Certainly. Was there an opportunity to be baptized? No. We have Jesus's promise that he would be saved.
But we don't use this as a rationalization for waiting to get baptized. I've rarely met a new believer who wasn't itching to get baptized and who wasn't passionate about learning God's Word. That's what the Holy Spirit does in us. Just because the thief on the cross didn't get baptized, doesn't mean that we, who have ample opportunity, can reject God's command and the blessings that it promises!
"You shall not put the Lord your God to the test." (Luke 4:12).
So if you and your agnostic pal are walking down the street, and he all of a sudden confesses faith in Christ, and then, out of the blue, he gets an axe to the chest -- I think there is the comfort there that he is saved. But if he decides to wait a few years to get baptized because it is unimportant -- that I think is concerning.
Lutherans hold firmly to all the assurances that believing and being baptized saves. But we also hold that the only thing that condemns is unbelief. Because we won't go any farther than Scripture takes us.
This is the stand we take on Holy Communion, too. We trust in Jesus's very words that it IS His body and blood, yet we don't worry about HOW it got there - such as the Catholics do with transubstantiation, or as the Calvinists do with saying that the gifts are there, but not really His body, because those are far from us in Heaven. We just say "God, I know that you fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, with plenty to spare. You mingled your divine nature with our humble flesh for eternity. You accomplished so many things that leave me in awe and that I don't understand. So if you say it is here with this bread and wine, then it is here with this bread and wine. And if you say I receive forgiveness of sins through the shedding of your flesh and blood that you are giving me (and that the life is in the blood), then I will trust that I am receiving the forgiveness of sins that you earned for me on the cross through this humble bread and wine.
In the end, when I am before God, I would rather be accused of taking His Word too seriously, than be accused of not taking it seriously enough, and asserting that real things are figurative.
I thought my husband had some good advice, if you haven't already started this...rather than discuss this with Lutherans, discuss it with Luther. Pick up a copy of the Small Catechism, or better yet, if you really want a clear exposition - the Book of Concord. You can find it here.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
This was on the first page of the Introduction:
The Son of God commended to His church the words of institution of the Supper in the form of a last will and testament -- at a time of high emotion, with most fervent prayer, and under the most serious circumstances on the night in which He was betrayed. Therefore these words should be observed with the greatest reverence and piety in the fear of the Lord by all people, for they are the words of the testament of the Son of God. But some evil genius has brought these most holy words into controversy like an apple of discord, so that what ought to be a bond of unity and agreement has become the cause of the most tragic differences and arguments.
Chemnitz goes on to talk about how theologians who will contend with all passion over most matters of doctrine will treat the disagreement over the words of institution as if they don't matter to salvation at all. And this attitude then extends all the way down to our youth, who then exert the logical extension of the theory that how we view Christ's words doesn't matter...to the idea that Holy Communion doesn't matter, so they don't seek it, don't partake often, and when they do, do not think about what they are doing.
I have barely started, but from my perusing, it is clear that Chemnitz keeps reiterating the point, chapter by chapter, that "Take eat, this IS my body" and "Drink of it all of you, this is the cup of the new testament in MY BLOOD, given for you FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS" is Christ's last will and testament before He was arrested and put to death. And a last will and testament is to be taken VERY seriously. Even in the case of a common man, if we doubt the meaning of the words, we are to go with the literal meaning of the words, with extreme conscience, follow the letter of what was stated in those words. Yet with Christ's words, in instituting a completely new practice in His Church, we have been arguing for almost 600 years on whether or not He meant that His body and blood are truly present, and whether Holy Communion is symbolic of the gift He gave us in His death, and whether we truly receive the forgiveness of sins.
It calls to mind a plot twist in my favorite book of all time, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Elizabeth eagerly hears Mr. Wickham's list of complaints against Mr. Darcy...the chief being that Mr. Darcy denied him a living as a vicar on his father's estate, that was specified in Darcy's father's will. Although Elizabeth was a little too eager to believe anything negative about Mr. Darcy, she stated something like this (I've loaned out my copy) "I knew him to be cold and unfeeling, but I did not believe him to be dishonorable."
Chemnitz argues that if we would have such strong tendencies to honor the will of a mere man, shouldn't we so much more so take seriously the will of the Son of God?
I have to admit I skipped ahead a bit. I am sure there will be more to report, but I found fascinating his argument about how doctrine is formed...or is NOT formed.
The main premise is a quote from Augustine "We must draw nothing from obscure passages which is not found written elsewhere in clear language."
Whether we believe that the Lord's Supper is truly the body and blood of Christ or if it is symbolic, the main source of doctrine comes from the words of institution themselves, reported in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. In every account, Christ says "IS" yet by most Protestant denominations, this is dismissed as being figurative. Yet we cannot build doctrine on figurative language. There must be a clear statement elsewhere which makes known the intention of Christ for this to be merely symbolic. And if it is not right where Christ instituted it, when He was specifically before His disciples, instituting something that has never been done before, why would He not make it clear, when He has always made it a point to teach and clarify His teachings to His disciples? And nowhere else is it stated that it is symbolic. Instead, Paul also clearly teaches that this is Christ's body and blood, given to each of us for the forgiveness of sins, and if we do not recognize it as such, we are eating and drinking to our judgement. (I Corinthians 11:23-27)
Doctrine can only be established using "proper, clear, and commonly known and used words," not "soley on figures of speech and allegories."
Further, there is no doubt that Christ willed that both this ceremony and this dogma be correctly understood, not only by the erudite who by rason of the gift of interpretation are able to penetrate into the depths of obscure points which are hidden in Scripture, but also by the whole church, the greater part of which are those who need to be fed on the milk of the Word. Therefore He is undoubtedly speaking about this new dogma, not previously known, so that it can be understood by all; for He fully realized that attached to it is the guilt of judgement if the proper discernment does not take place.I'm really looking forward to reading this. The chapters are short, so I think I probably Iam going to be doing this on a chapter a day basis, as much as I can.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Mr. Rebellious Pastor's Wife isn't here right now to ask but I have heard a few criteria over the past 15 or so years....For those of you who know Concordia Theological Seminary, I've been told (by my husband) that my husband (who was merely my new boyfriend at the time) had an idea to change a luxury retirement apartment building that is to the south (Towne House) of the lake into a residence for promising pastor's wife candidates (actually, the term he used was"ortho-babes." Obviously, I would've lived there).
I heard a grumpy seminarian one time say that a Lutheran pastor's wife should be "a good Baptist girl with childbearing hips."And of course, he should keep the congregation's needs in mind. She should be able to bake like there is no tomorrow and not put on weight, she should be able to whip a church office into shape in the blink of an eye, not to mention put together a ladies retreat with style and grace, have been able to play the entire liturgy on the organ from the tender age of eight, and manage her house of five plus angelic children with a smile and a perfectly coiffed modest hair-do and perfectly tailored dress and modest heels.
Honestly, I don't know how many pastors out there think so much about what kind of woman they'd fall in love with because they are a pastor, as much as what kind of woman they'd fall in love with because they are a man who wants to spend the rest of his life with someone who has qualities they enjoy. Common interests, common values, common faith all serve to create some kind of chemistry.
That's all I can account for in my situation at least. I completely lack domestic skills (well, I can cook...now), my figure is less than hourglass (or more than hourglass), I don't play an instrument, I live in jeans and t-shirts, have one of those volcanic "Sgt. Schultz" type Germanic tempers, and my potluck dishes often have a price tag on them, when I actually have it together enough to remember to bring one.
However, I LOVE to read, laugh, cuddle, and I was much more impressed that the skinny-guy-with-glasses-who-won-my-heart could tie a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue than I was that he was a seminarian.
So, basically, I got myself in this mess by just being me...and if you happen to get yourself in the same sort of mess by just being you, then it is a very good thing. If you are trying to snare yourself a man of the cloth, my question is..... "why on God's green earth would you be LOOKING for this kind of trouble???"
But I'd love to hear from others...pastors and pastor's wives. What was on the list for qualifications for a life-long parsonage mate? (and, of course, answers could be serious, or tongue in cheek. I'm not sure what my attempt at this question is.) (and why does this dumb thing switch from double-spaced to single-spaced all the time???)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Oh, uh, sorry. Anyway, when I was reading Dr. Veith's comments about the fantabulous Brewers the other day, I realized that I really haven't posted about my beloved Dodgers practically this entire season.
Seemingly, there would be a lot to write about. They are having a really good season. They are going back and forth with the Padres for first place in the NL West. Nomar is still adorably cute (and to think, I was against signing him). Russell Martin is having a stellar year and is healing that gut-wrenching pain after the Paul LoDuca trade (of course, Paul LoDuca is managing to erase that himself, by kind of being a schmuck). Our veterans are relatively cool, and our rookies are exciting. So why do I feel so drab?
Maybe this is what a Cubs fan feels like every year. I can't quite place it. We are often in first place, yet for the first time in several years of hearing that the NL is subpar (despite the fact that our records were better against other divisions than against our own!), I think "if we are in first place, then the NL West stinks this year. "
I have not been fond of Luis Gonzalez, and not simply because he used to badmouth us and accuse us of stealing signs when he was a Dback. He's still a good hitter, but he is not a good fielder anymore, and he often gives up a run through an error for every RBI he gets. Opposing teams are well aware that if they hit the ball to left or to center, they can get a double or make it home if they are at first. It is reminiscent of when we had Jason Phillips as a catcher, and he could NOT get throw to 2nd. We had one team steal 6 bases on him in just a few innings. Gonzo and Pierre just don't have the arms. But with personalities like Jeff Kent and Brad Penny, I think Gonzo's value is probably in the clubhouse.
I'm thrilled to death that Pierre is stealing again, but I'm frustrated with Rafael Furcal. He is playing hurt and I get so sick of players who insist on being on the field and being a liability to the team when they could be on the DL for a while and heal, and be an asset as we race for the playoffs. I still wish we had not signed him, and that we had waited for Cesar Izturis. Defensively, even now, Izzy is better.
I hope we make it to the playoffs, but with this team, I don't know if we can compete once we get there. We are not playing like a playoff team. We are playing like a team that for some unknown reason, happens to get key hits. I don't mind that we don't hit homeruns. I LOVE little ball. But I wish we were better at that. We fight through the whole game. That is something new over the last year or so. There are a lot of games we win in the eighth or ninth. And man, he may not have the charisma of Gagne, but Saito is fabulous.
So I guess I'm kind of mixed up, and I haven't written about it because I don't want to think about it. So, just in case you were wondering....I guess it is just one of those seasons.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Yesterday, a nice woman posted a comment that shared some insight into the Baptist view of baptism, from the post that I wrote here. Because I seem to be physically incapable of writing more than a few sentences in those little comment boxes, I decided to post my response to some of her points in the main text (I hope you don’t mind, Steph). Of course, then I get really free with my writing, and end up writing entirely too much….. :) (I'll write in blue, its my favorite color)
After reading it, I think the key is the punctuation and interpretation of the phrases in vs 11. I don't think circumcision (literal) was intended to be a parallel to baptism in that passage. I think circumcision (literal) was supposed to be a parallel with Christ's death for our sins as indicated by the phrase "by the circumcision of Christ"--which was made "without hands". In the translations I read after I read your post, the rest of the passage follows a colon and is more of a descriptor of "by the circumcision of Christ" than an explanation of how circumcision (literal) and baptism are parallels (I don't think that's what the passage is trying to say).
I think this needs to be taken into the context starting from verse 8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Looking at Acts and at the other Epistles, Paul was being followed around by Judaizers – men who would go into young churches and say “Yes, Paul told you this, but there is more. You need to be circumcised, and you need to follow the ceremonial law.” It also states that they were dealing with gnosticism and the worship of angels.
Paul tells them, “You have been circumcised with a circumcision made without hands..by the circumcision of Christ.” (Ephesians 2 relates well here)This is baptism, not the death of Christ. And that colon, semi-colon, or comma goes on to indicate the work that happens through that baptism, that when we are baptized, we are made one with the death of Christ, and raised up again with Him by God. (verses 12-13).
Now this is where I had the realization that I could not be Baptist. There are just too many verses which show that there is REAL power in baptism, not that it is just a symbol of inward faith. There was real power in circumcision, too. It made the son part of the covenant God made with Israel. Baptism makes us a part of the covenant that God made through Christ.“Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38-39
“No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he be born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5-6
“Get up, be baptized and wash away your sins.” Acts 22:16
“Having been buried with Him in baptism in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Him from the dead.” Col. 2:12
“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3,4
“All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” Galatians 3:27
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16
“He saved us by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs, having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7
Most Baptists I know believe that baptism is an outward declaration of an inward faith, not salvation, which would be why the pastor was probably trying to tell you that he thought infants should not be baptized. It's important that this passage is referring to the parallel I mentioned before (circumcision and "by the circumcision of Christ") not to a parallel between circumcision (literal) and baptism, because comparing circumcision (literal) to baptism infers that baptism is required at infancy (or required, period) to receive the covenant imputed with Christ's death and resurrection just as circumcision (literal) was required at birth (or later, in a few cases) by God of the Jews.
But baptism is required. And putting the two together like that invites comparison.
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16
“No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5
I see nothing wrong with baptizing an infant as long as the people doing so don't believe the baptism equates to salvation. I don't believe Christ's new covenant passed on to us the same way God's covenant with the Jews passed on to them. I have no idea how God protects the innocent ones, but I'm sure he does.
With what Mark 16:16 says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Baptism is required for salvation. There are exceptions such as the thief on the cross, but there was no time to baptize him. In most cases, in Scripture, a person was brought to baptism right after they professed faith, but the promises that were made in baptism were made to the whole family.
"And corresponding to that (Noah's family being saved in the flood), baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 3:21
“Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16
“No one can enter the kingdom of god unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Matt 28:19
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children.” Acts 2:38-39
Faith is not something that we choose. God chooses us, not the other way around. The Holy Spirit draws us to faith. We can reject God, but we cannot come to Him of our own free will. It is not something that is cognitive or subject to our own understanding. John the Baptist had faith in the womb. He leaped when he heard Mary’s voice. The Holy Spirit enters the child through baptism and works faith in her heart.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8
"And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answeed and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Matt. 16:16-17
"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith..."Heb. 12:2
Psalm 51 shows that there is no point in our lives where we are innocent. “In sin my mother conceived me.” Ephesians 2:3 “Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” We may not be able to see the sinful actions of young children, but they have a sinful nature. They are subject to the sinful world and to death.
If we deny this, then we are left to start making contemplations that do not agree with Scripture or that God's Word never addresses in order to explain a weak and false supposition in the first place. Scripture does not say we are ever innocent. Since Adam and Eve sinned, we were conceived in sin, and except that we are made one with Christ's death and resurrection, even as a mere babe we are not worthy of being in God's presence. The Bible never says anything about an age of accountability, or a proper age for baptism, or that children can’t have faith, when instead it gives us examples that they do. If there truly was a good age or certain criteria, that would be important enough to mention! Instead, there is constant encouragement to make baptism available to all nations, to believers and to their children (and the word used in the Greek includes infants).
Of course, we do not baptize and then think we do not have to train them in the faith. Children need to be instructed in the faith and shown by our daily lives why it is important. They need to hear the Law and the Gospel – the forgiveness of sins, and be constantly reminded of why their baptism was so important. They need to be a part of the communion of the saints. But it starts with baptism, where they are made one with Jesus’s death and resurrection. Baptism IS how God protects little babies and young children who cannot confess their faith. Baptism IS one of the ways God protects us, too.
I can only trust in the things Scripture say as listed above. I cannot assume that baptism is merely a symbol when there are a wealth of verses that show otherwise. I can’t decide that baptism isn’t required when the Bible says that it is (but it is unbelief that condemns). I can’t withhold baptism from my children when there are many verses that show the benefits of baptism, command me to baptize and to allow the children to come to Jesus, and do not give me guidelines other than to do so. God’s Word must have the final say.
I chose Lutheranism because of this. Lutheran theology says specifically that we must rest in what Scripture says and while reason is a gift from God, our reason is corrupted by sin and cannot have a clear picture of everything. So if the Bible says that we receive forgiveness of sins and the gifts of the Holy Spirit through baptism, then we do. Even if I come to faith before that and receive the Holy Spirit through the hearing of the Word, I also receive Him and His blessings when I am baptized through the Word combined with the water. And since Scripture says that we baptize all nations, and there are examples of whole families being baptized in Scripture, then I make sure my children are baptized. If I don’t understand HOW they come to faith, then I simply obey and have trust that God is more powerful than me. I can’t start trusting in things like ages of accountability or defining baptism as something that is only a symbol of something that has already happened in my heart. A part of me would find it easy to, but I look at Scripture and go no further – and realize that I have a God who is so powerful that He works in ways that are beyond my comprehension.
God bless you with your little one, Steph. Thank you for your comments.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Take a look at Acts 2 (vv.41-47), after the Holy Spirit came at the Feast of Pentecost and Peter spoke to the crowds:
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers....Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
The first thing they did after they came to faith was to gather together daily at the temple. It was known that believers gathered at Solomon's Portico, and they also met in each other's houses to break bread (have Holy Communion).
The story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)shows how important this is by how deadly it was when it was broken. Ananias and his wife sold their property and gave part of the proceeds to the church. Was this wrong? Of course not. What they did though, was let everyone think that what they gave was all of the proceeds. They wanted to be acclaimed for their generosity and to be held up with those who had sold their belongings in order to share with others, while really not doing so. They lied before God and man, and because they did so, they immediately dropped dead.
Then we see Paul. Paul travels all over, spending time in various places proclaiming the gospels to Jew and Gentile alike. Before he leaves, he appoints overseers for those churches, either from the men who are travelling with him (such as Timothy or Titus) or from the men who are of that flock who are believers.
Now, I know that the word "church" has different meanings. It can mean a particular building where Christians meet to worship. This in and of itself was important. They made it known, if they weren't being persecuted, where they were to be found, and often this was in the open, such as in Solomon's Portico of the Temple or in the squares of the towns. In this period of time, before and during the persecution, Christians often arranged to meet at a central spot, or in each other's homes. When I was led to go back to church, I found a church by seeing them along the streets, looking in the Yellow Pages, and learning what was being taught there. Even our denominational names can help in that. But with the abandonment of Scripture, changes in practice, and even the trying to hide the denomination through names like "The Crossing" or "community church" that is becoming much more difficult.
The church can also mean all of the believers of Christ worldwide. It is composed only of those who believe, even though in the church buildings and in the activities of the church, we recognize that there are those whose faith is dead. They are not included in this definition of church. So all who confess faith in the Triune God and who believe in Christ's death and resurrection are always members of the Church, even when they are not involved in their particular congregation.
But then there is the congregation. The congregation is a very important thing. This is shown by the fact that the first thing the Holy Spirit did after bringing people to faith is that he brought them together. Everywhere the apostles went, they proclaimed the Word, some believed, and they began gathering together. The word 'church' is used 92 times in the Bible specifically referring to a congregation of believers. (info courtesy of The Master Study Bible, Holman Press...out of print, to my chagrin).
And this is not in the context of "where two or three are gathered." There are more. When Paul writes his epistles back to the congregations he has visited, and those which he hopes to, he knows that these letters will be read there (2 Thess 5:27). If people are saying "I don't need to go, I'm just going to meet with Lycius and Petros" they will miss important things. When you look at the fact that Paul considered it this important to uplift, teach, encourage, and rebuke....they could be missing a whole lot, and straying off very easily. The church was in a dangerous time then. It still is. The gathering together, when the church is doing it's job, protects it's people from false doctrine, and proclaims the good and warns the believers who are in danger - these all flow out of the preaching of the Word and the unification that occurs in the sacramental life of the church.
Paul also points out how these churches did powerful things. When Paul was in Thessalonica, the Philippians sent aid to him. The Thessalonians in turn learned from that example. The young churches sent aid to Jerusalem when famine hit. Many of the churches sent their most promising young men with Paul to be trained, to support him, and even to help pastor new churches in various places.
But reading the epistles, it also becomes very clear that the gathering of believers around Word and Sacrament is good by what is NOT said. Paul never, EVER, specifically says "if things are not going well, go find a few friends and gather on your own" or "continue studying privately." Instead, he says:
"..but rather resolve not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way." Romans 14:13b
"We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak and not to please ourself." Romans 15:1
"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Chrst, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18)
"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Cor. 1:10)
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2
"let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32
"fulfill my joy by being like-minded,having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but for the interest of others." Philippians 2:3-4
"I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel." Philippians 4:2-3
"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you., and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every evil." I Thess 5:11-22
And there is so much more. But while Paul, Peter, James, and John exhort us to bear with one another's weaknesses, be loving and humble with each other, it is universally assumed and encouraged that we continue to gather together.
Unity is important. Terribly important. And even when we believe that we are completely right, unless it is a matter of doctrine, we need to look at our own attitudes and thinking and evaluate whether it is important enough to disrupt unity. When we wish to change a practice, how does it effect the life of the church? When we wish to resist a change of practice, are we simply holding to the old or are we engaging in discussion, learning the other's perspective -- or are we refusing to listen and grow before our we decide. We need to be humble and patient with those who don't see things the same way. And sometimes that means giving up when we are right, evaluating whether the cost of being right is worth whom it might hurt. When we truly believe we are right, this is a hard thing, sometimes downright painful. Being unwilling to do this has destroyed many relationships, many marriages, many congregations.
We need to overlook petty issues ("she didn't call me back" "they misprinted my announcement in the bulletin," "why is he in such a bad mood?") and lovingly allow for the sinfulness in our brethren that we would hope they would make allowances for in us(notice, that is what we are called...we are brothers and sisters in Christ..not merely friends and acquaintances. This implies that even if we tried to get rid of each other, we really aren't). When there is a serious offense, we need to go to them and talk to them in love.
This includes with our pastors. You have no idea how many times I have heard "I don't want to hurt him" because they know the pastor means well, or "I don't want to hurt the church through a confrontation" when any good pastor would much rather have you go to him and bring your complaints before him, or even reprimand him if needed, give him an opportunity to hear you, and for you to hear him....than to see you silently walk out the door. You do hurt the church when you leave silently. More than you could ever comprehend - because you are not there to see. And you do hurt the pastor when you do not bring your complaints to him. He knows something is wrong, yet you do not confide in him, whom GOD put over you to show you His love. That is wrong and it is sinful. It is refusing to acknowledge God's authority.
We are to try to find every means possible to maintain peace within our congregation, even sacrificing many of our freedoms and our rights for the sake of that unity. We cannot sacrifice doctrine, but we can try to maintain peace even through issues where we struggle with that as well. It is a big deal for a brother or sister to leave a family and not come back. We would hope that if a child chose to remove themselves from a family, it would be for a reason that was uncompromisable, and that all effort had been made by all (including the child) for them to stay - not simply because Dad told him he was wrong, or he didn't like that his sister was getting all this attention. Leaving a congregation has the same level of importance. Even more so, because we are talking about a family that God created in His name, unifying them not merely by human blood, but by the blood of His most Holy Son.
The Holy Spirit not only gives us faith, but He leads us into the body of Christ, into the congregation of believers, into the flock for our protection and our edification. Although Christ knows how many hairs each of us have on our heads and He calls us each by name, He also knows that we need each other. He works to care for us through His church.
If after there is a crucial issue with doctrine and practice, and you have tried to address it in a godly, Biblical way, you may find the need to be led to another flock. Pray about it. Do not leave in anger. Trust God to find another flock for you. But it is not in His will that you go off on your own where you are vulnerable to the wolves and to yourself. This is important for you, and for the family that God has put in your care. But in a godly way means also that they know why you left, so that if they are in the wrong, they have the opportunity to hear what they are doing, and to choose to correct it, or to choose to remain in what you believe is wrong.
This is what I have found in the Epistles. I encourage you to study them also, because there is far more there, even on the topic of the importance of the congregation, than I could ever share here.
Not long after returning to school, I was sitting in church again, and Pastor Dave was preaching on Colossians 2:11-14
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. buried with Him in baptism in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Now, the pastor went through the nature of circumcision and how this text compared it to baptism, and he was doing a really good job. But there came a point where he lost me...and I mean he LOST me.
Because he said "and this is why infants should not be baptized."
All of a sudden, it all clicked. The connection was made in my brain that if baptism is how we are brought into the new covenant, and circumcision is how we were brought into the old, then baptizing babies was no more wrong than circumcising them on the eighth day. Those babies did not choose to be part of the Old Testament covenant either, yet it was commanded by God. (So yes, it was a Baptist pastor who convinced me that infant baptism was a good thing, though I don't know that he'd be proud of that)
A few days after it occurred to me that the pastor was waiting for me to come forward for an altar call, it also occurred to me that this particular sermon was directed right at me to push forward my desire to be baptized(I was born blonde...sometimes it takes me a while, just like it rarely occurred to me that a guy liked me until he was planting one on my pucker. And like I said before, there really was no one else in the congregation that this was an issue for...but I just figured it was regular teaching).
I am not laughing at the pastor. He was a good man, and he was taking his calling as a pastor and I believe he was legitimately concerned for my salvation. He knew I had faith, but he took seriously their doctrine that getting baptized was a matter of obedience to God's commands, and not having the desire to do so may indicate that I am not saved. A part of me wishes that he could see that maybe that lack of motivation was fruit from the fact that I already was baptized, but I do respect him for taking my spiritual well-being seriously.
That sermon also showed me that I was clearly in the wrong place. I'd already wanted to find out if I could "handle" being Lutheran again, since I was in a long-distance relationship with a seminarian who was clearly the marrying kind. But this was the kick in the pants that I needed, so it was time to go see if I could find in Lutheranism what my (then) boyfriend found there.
I'm thankful for Pastor Dave, he was a good man, and he was good to me. That congregation will always have a special place in my heart (his wife also taught me that you don't have to be rosy, sweet, well-organized, and completely feminine to be a pastor's wife). Pastor Dave left shortly after I did, and I appreciate all he did for me, and there is simply a part of me that is thankful that he kept me busy until I found where I really needed to be, the same way I am thankful for my husband's ex-girlfriend who kept him busy for four years before we met. I am truly where God meant me to be.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
One thing that I found particularly touching was that the LSB rite for First Communion Prior to Confirmation closes with the verse "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Phil 1:6.
Philippians 1:3-6, 9-11 was our wedding text. This text has meant more to me than I could ever say, but that God who began a good work in us is continuing to do so through us to bless our children as they are strengthened by His Word and Sacrament is a depth of meaning that really hit home today.