Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Intellectual Faith Fix

Issues Etc. of course is near and dear to our hearts because it is from a confessional Lutheran perspective. However, there is another show out there that you might find interesting. It is called White Horse Inn. It is a round table discussion with occasional interviews that involve four men from different confessional backgrounds (Calvinist, predominantly), including Dr. Rod Rosenblatt, a confessional Lutheran apologist who teaches at Concordia Irvine, which is becoming a confessional powerhouse in their theology department. This group is what used to be known as CURE, then they allied with Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, and then they are out on their own again.

They tackle many of the same issues that Issues, Etc. does, and from the looks of it, their website has been following the Issues, Etc. crisis. They have an interview posted with Mollie Ziegler Hemingway as well. I know I saw Pr. Riddlebarger's name on the IE Petition. A part of me hopes that they will be the ones to bring Issues Etc. back to the airways, as they already have a radio following in many parts of the country. I believe most of the hosts have also served as presenters at one or another CTS Symposia.

This one I do occasionally listen to, because I make my son download it onto his I-Pod and then we listen on road trips(isn't the idea of being able to spend the money you earn on WHATEVER you want a grand idea?????)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Deep Confessions

I haven't really written about the whole Issues, Etc. debaucle because I have something shameful to admit. I don't listen to "Issues Etc." Or, I didn't. I have. I definitely have...and I liked it a lot. It isn't because of "Issues, Etc." I can't seem to manage to listen to "White Horse Inn," either anymore, and I used to drive 45 miles on Wednesday nights to attend a confession and absolution service/Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. Rod if I were going to listen to anything.....

I (shamefully hanging my head)....don't have an Ipod. I don't even have an MP3 player, and I simply can't sit at my computer and listen to radio shows. I walk away too much, I get distracted, and my mind is already preoccupied.

But all the same, I know what "Issues, Etc." is, and I know that its purpose is to take the confessional Lutheran faith that I cling to and use it as a filter for viewing the current events that our world is dealing with. I really do WANT to listen to it.

But its gone. And knowing so many people who listen to it, knowing the good that it has done for our Synod, for the Lutheran faith, and for Christianity in general, I am dismayed that THIS is what our Synod chose to eliminate. I am not convinced that it is simply a budget issue. I also think it was very unChristian to decide to fire two devoted church workers on Tuesday of Holy Week, take the show off the air without so much as a howdy-do, and also take the archives off the website (it was put back up later after a tremendous amount of protest).

I have devotedly followed the response to this that has followed, so I will give you a few links:

Molly Zeigler Hemingway, a confessional Lutheran journalist and member of the blogging team at Get Religion, succeeded in getting the issue national coverage in the Wall Street Journal in the story "Radio Silence." She did an expert job of presenting the beauties of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and its theological strengths, as well as the struggles that we are going through.

Pastor Weedon has made it his purpose to keep us updated, as has Pastor Cwirla. Pastor Esget at Esgetology (I love that name) has a good article here, and Pastor Petersen at Cyberstones made some excellent points as well. The new Wittenberg Trail (basically Facebook for confessional Lutherans or those interested in it) has a strong update to it, and here is the link to the petition that has garnered over 5000 signatures in a week. And the Bring Back Issues Etc. blog has accessed the records of downloaded podcasts in the last 3 months, one vital statistic that was left out of Rev. Strand's recently released account of why Issues Etc. was cancelled.

There is so much more out there on this, so take a look around and figure it out if you haven't already (because I know I am way behind on posting on this). I believe Mollie Ziegler Hemingway got it completely right that the bottom line on this issue is about church practice, not about finances or ratings.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Template

Okay, so tell me what you think of this one.....I couldn't keep the other one really because I never really told Blogger to publish in blue....I just changed the color every time I I would have to go back and change almost every post I ever made if I kept the Dodger template.

These off-site template designs delete all of my other widgets, so I'll have to put them back in. But I was thinking of simplifying anyway.

And if anyone has any hints on how to shrink the left margin so that I can enlarge the posting space, I'd be very appreciative. update: never mind, I've figured it out. woo-hoo! Go, me! updated post: if anyone can tell me how to make the left margin smaller while NOT erasing the sidebar...I'd be very appreciative.
What do you think of the new template
That is a cool cat, it's got a lot of this and its got a lot of that so come on in and get down!
I don't like cats (your opinion won't be counted)
that cat is freaky
that cat IS freaky, but it is kind of cool, too.
Whatever floats your boat
Hey, they don't mention cats in the Bible!
It's either me or the cat!!!
Free polls from

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In honor of Spring and baseball season.....I am looking for a new look, and I know this one isn't going to stay...but it is cool all the same....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Words of Comfort

I meant to write this a couple of weeks ago, but there hasn't been time, so I apologize that this is an unusual writing for Easter, but in some ways it still fits.

Between my son and my daughter, are three children who are in Heaven.

There was Mara - we don't know if she was a girl, but we had a boy in our arms, for some reason, it was easier to consider her a girl -- whether because we wanted one, or because it was too painful to relate it to the idea of losing Chris. Mara means bitterness. Naomi had chosen it for herself when her own name, meaning "pleasant" could no longer apply to a woman who has lost her husband and two sons, and all she had.

We were in in the emergency room until 3 a.m. the night before my husband's ordination, and the process of losing her took weeks. It was probably an ectopic pregnancy that "resolved itself," they never could find the embryo...just an empty sac in my uterus, and a blip near my ovary. The HCG slowly went up for several weeks, and then slowly started going down.

Then came Jessica. We lost her at six weeks, on Ash Wednesday. It hadn't been a week since we'd found out about her existence. I cried through the contractions while holding and nursing my one year old while my husband was at church conducting the service. There had been a little spotting, enough for me to stay home that evening, but nothing to indicate that miscarriage was imminent. By the time he came home, everything was done, and my toddler was sleeping calmly. I haven't been to church on Ash Wednesday since.

Noah we lost at 19 weeks. The midwife couldn't find his heartbeat, but we didn't believe anything could be wrong until we saw the face of the ultrasound technician who wouldn't let us see the screen. After all, we'd made it past the "dangerous time." But she just sent us back out again and told us that our doctor would be calling. The doctor wanted to send me to an abortionist to get a D&E, because they were expert at the procedure that most OBs never have to perform. I wouldn't let a murderer chop up and suck out my baby. My doctor then checked me into the hospital and induced labor and continually checked on me through the night. We held him in our hands, wept over him, had him cremated, and gave him a memorial service with my inlaws in attendance. God bless them.

The congregation didn't know about the first miscarriage. We didn't know them well enough to let them know what was going on. I cannot begin to express the pain of enduring the other two losses in the public eye, putting on a brave face while people assured me "it was God's will" or "you could always have another," or worse "At least you have Chris." Those are statements made to people who do not realize that the children lost were real. They stabbed my heart.

There were two words that brought me comfort. Words directly from the Bible...words that usually only seem to draw attention for their smallness...the shortest verse in the Bible. "Jesus wept."

Jesus wept outside of Lazarus's tomb, knowing full well that He would be raising him from the dead in just a few moments....knowing alsol that he would soon conquer death. Jesus wept because it was NOT His will that any of us should ever have to face death. Jesus knew so completely the eternal horror we would face because of our sinfulness. We often glibly dismiss what to him was so tragic that He Himself took on flesh and endured our punishment and conquered it so that we would not be utterly consumed by it.

A few weeks ago, these words rang in my ears again because they were the gospel text, and hearing them brought to mind that it was near that time again. Nine years ago, these words brought comfort to my heart because Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was the gospel reading near the week that would've been Noah's due date. As far as I am concerned, it is one of the richest texts in the Bible (and it blows me away that it isn't even in the One Year Series)-- showing Thomas's loyalty to His Lord, allowing the much maligned Martha to be the one to run to her Lord and utter the clearest confession of faith in the resurrection of the dead that is in the Bible.....and to show so clearly how tragic death is...that death even brings the Lord of Life to tears.

It was not God's will that my children died. I will see them again in Heaven, but to know that Christ wept with me over their deaths even though He is victorious over death brought so much more comfort than "it was God's will." That didn't ring true. God never made man to die -- He didn't want us to know what evil was. He wanted us to eat from the Tree of Life. Satan and man conspired to bring to bring death and evil into the world. It was not God's will that Adam and Eve should die, or that Lazarus should've died (twice), or that as we age our bodies should break down and turn on us, or that the babies that He creates to live should die before even taking a breath...His tears show that, as does His own death and resurrection.

He is risen, He is risen indeed, and because He rose from the dead, I know that I shall rise also, and I know with confidence that my children are safe with Him. My heart misses them and will always grieve that I was not allowed to hold them, know them, be with them..... because that is what we grieve when we lose those precious to us. We don't lose that grief even when we have the comfort of their salvation. But they are at the feast that I was at today at the communion rail and someday I shall look upon them and know them....because He is risen.


He is Risen

He is Risen Indeed...Alleluia.

A blessed and glorious Easter to you all

Almost Free....

I got news that the project that I am working on that is bringing in a bit of extra income is slated to end on April 15th. That means a little less pocket cash BUT I will have all that time to BLOG.....!!!! Woohoo!! And to get my garden set up....but to BLOG!!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Not Only am I Rebellious, But I Could've Been a Criminal

Yesterday, the California Court of Appeals did something rather bizarre. They took a case that was about one set of parents who might or might not be neglecting or abusing their children....and used it to make homeschooling illegal.

Here is the official decision that was made

Here is a link to sign a petition to request that the California Supreme Court depublish the decision. What that basically means is -- the courts could've gone in two different directions with the action they took. First, the decision could've applied to this family alone. Or, the tact that they did take, they decided that their decision should effect all 250,000 homeschoolers in the state, and that possibly could have repercussions everywhere. As was said by Michael Ferris today "California leads the nation in some good things, and in many bad things." Asking the California State Supreme Court to depublish the decision would make it so the decision only effects the parents, but does not become official legislation. So please go sign....even if you are not a homeschooler. Even if you don't have kids. Let them know that the rest of the country disapproves of this decision.

California has taken several steps in recent times to strip parents of their rights to make decisions for their children or be involved in their education.
Private schools are required to teach evolution.

They have just passed SB777 (ironic #) that changes the way sexual education is taught from first grade all the way through high school that teaches that homosexuality is a beneficial lifestyle and it will even strip the words "mother," "father," "husband," and "wife," from all texts.

The ever-so-controversial Federal Ninth District Court ruled in Fields vs. Palmdale School District, that the parents' rights to decide for their children stops at the threshold of the school doors.

When children are enrolled in public schools, the parent has to sign a health form that allows the school to seek medical attention for the child without the parents' consent. One would think this would be to seek medical attention for injuries, even if the parent cannot be reached. Instead, it has been used to procure abortions for students.

As a person who has lived, worked, voted, volunteered, and homeschooled in California, I am greatly alarmed to find that at the drop of a hat, I could become a criminal, and would continue to be a criminal until I could move from the state, since I do not possess teaching credentials (and for that matter, neither do a good percentage of the teachers in the classrooms).

I have many issues with the decision....

The dependency court declined to make such an order despite the court’s opinion that the home schooling the children were receiving was “lousy,” “meager,” and “bad,” and despite the court’s opinion that keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children’s lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ “cloistered” setting.

I cannot speak to the conditions that the parents kept their children in. I have heard a number of stories about how DCS in California has badgered homeschoolers. I have two friends who have had DCS called on them by neighbors because they homeschooled. The social worker came in, looked around and left. But if these criteria are to be applied to all of us, I find it riduculous.

Pt. 1 - "they could interact with people outside the family" First of all, this family had eight kids. That is A LOT if interaction. They had to negotiate and share, look out for each other, and were constantly in an environment where they were around people that cared about them. The interaction that they had with each other HAD to be much more rich, much more involved than sitting in a classroom with 30 other students EXACTLY the same age, not being allowed to talk most of the time, and doing textbook work. That is a homogenous environment.

Pt. 2 - there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children’s lives, There are 250,000 homeschoolers in California. There are 10.5 million children in the state of California, according to the 2000 Census. Yes, the kids would have someone to go to for help, if they sought it out. But to apply this logic to why homeschooling should not be allowed is very bewildering. I would be underexaggerating excessively to say that there are at least five times as many abused and neglected children in California schools that will never be helped or spotted as there are homeschoolers all together. I think we all know it probably is much higher, despite these children being away from their parents' most of the day.

To treat all of us like we are abusers or neglecting our children is preposterous. The sacrifices that we are making for our children rather indicate that we are much more interested in their well-being than any teacher of 30 students ever could be, no matter what the best intentions would be. There are child abusers among us. There are a few that neglect their children's education. But the very nature of the commitment that we make to our children in order to homeschool demonstrates that there are far fewer children suffering from these tragedies among our ranks than in the general population as a whole.

And there are so many more kids that get left out and figuratively or literally battered in the schools, when they do not fit the mold that our current educational model is fit to. I would argue that very few kids, even those that enjoy school and prosper in it, wouldn't do better in a more personal environment that allows for their needs, encourages their creativity, and allows them to interact with their siblings, the very peopel that God meant for them to learn socialization skills with, rather than with children who are identical in age, in a completely artificial environment.

Pt. 3 - they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ “cloistered” setting Most homeschoolers are not isolated. They go to homeschool activities, they take part in church, they play sports, they do Scouts and/or 4-H, and SO MUCH MORE. Not only that, they are with their parents as their parents experience life, buying groceries, running errands, solving problems, volunteering or helping out our neighbor, and sometimes even helping us in our employment. Separating them out to learn in school all the time, rather than in life, and then to be absorbed in homework for hours at night takes away the time for learning real life skills and growing in the relationships that they have with those that truly love them. They don't have time to learn real life skills like managing a home and many other things.

There is so much more regarding this decision that I find appalling. This statement didn't get us past the first paragraph. But I am running out of room, and my husband is bringing the children back from the science museum.

I repeat, please go sign the petition, and pray for the homeschoolers in California while this matter is being decided. And if the thought strikes you, donate some money to Homeschoolers Legal Defense Association or to the legal organization that they work through in California.

It is an interesting thought, if I were still in California, today, I would be a criminal.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

One More Ideal T-Shirt for Lutherans....

I think that Concordia Theological Seminary (or the guys at Gottesdienst) ought to work out a deal with the guys at Lark News to slap their name on the back of this's in their store .
This is even better than "You Suck, Which is Why You Need Jesus."-- which Luther himself would've been proud of....

(btw, this is from, which is kind of like The Onion, making fun of some of the modern culture of Christianity. All entirely tongue in is my suggestion....unless of course somebody thinks it is a good idea, and then I'd like royalties....)