Friday, April 25, 2008

Open your Bibles, please...

to Numbers 6:22-27.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

The red part is the standard Lutheran Benediction, also known as the Aaronic Benediction. Simply God's Holy Word.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


On the 15th I blogged about Lutheran Rebecca's post on Candy's blog (see And Now a Word from the Lutherans). Do you suppose it is the same Lutheran Rebecca that posted this on Candy's blog?:

Hi Candy. Great blog! It cleared up something for me. I was raised a Luthern. It is sort of a spinoff of the Catholic Church. They do have the confirmation process. I was confirmed at 13. I was baptized at 9 years old (sprinkled). The Luthern church baptizes babies. Very wrong, I know. But anyway, I'm not sure why my mother waited so long with me. But to make a long story short, I got saved later in life and realize these rituals are not Biblical, now. But I always wondered if my soul was damned to hell for eternity because I did go through confirmation and baptism early on. But after reading the testimonies of former Catholics, I know now that I am forgiven for that. But one thing, I am not making excuses for myself, but I was a child then and didn't really have a choice. My mother entered mre in Catacism and I went to class. It was just how things were done in the Luthern church. I was sprinkled at my grandmothers house with all the relatives there in a formal ceremony. But I do agree with one of the testemonies that I learned a lot about Jesus as a child in Sunday School. I always thought the hymns and bible stories were so beautiful. I remember the benediction. That must have been a holdover from the RC church. But since I have been saved I have been properly baptized in a freezing cold creek with the congregation standing on the shore and singing the most beautiful song. But anyway, I will shut up now. But I was really worried about if I could even be saved or if I had sold my soul to the devil. God must have directed me to this blog or directed you to write it. He does work in mysterious ways! A heartfelt thank you! Rebecca

Well...I have to agree with Rebecca, God works in mysterious ways!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fashionistas [edited 4 hrs. later]

There is an AP article about the FLDS ladies' apparel: Polygamist Wives' Clothing Looks to Past

Interesting secular viewpoints regarding women who dress "in uniform" for their faith. Modesty seems to offend some people.

Personally, I kind of like the darker dress in picture 2.

And if you are curious about what I look like, the woman on the far left in picture 3 looks a lot like me!

Addendum: I showed my oldest daughter (17) the picture of the lady I thought looked like me and she said, "If you were younger, yeah."

Ooooouch! Ok - She looks like me 20, 10, 15 years ago.

Also, two blurbs from the article that caught my eye:

The clothing is also stitched with special markings "to protect the body and to remind you of you commitment," Bennion says. She declined to go into detail about the stitchings because she said it would be an infraction against the fundamentalist Mormon community to talk about their sacred symbols.

Now I am definitely intrigued by secret sacred symbols! I wonder what they are? Have to Google that later!

Celebrity stylist and salon owner Ted Gibson thinks it gives off a "homely" impression."It says 'I don't really care very much. I really don't have time to worry about the way that I look, because I have 20 children,'" Gibson said. "He's going from wife to wife to wife, so why should I look any better than the other ones?"

On the contrary, I think they care a great deal about how they look. It appears to us that having a uniform (or basically one outfit) to wear over and over would be a no-brainer every morning. But that one outfit has to comply with so many rules regarding length, cut, color, neatness, and, apparently the secret sacred symbols stitched into it! That one outfit isn't just some school uniform, it is God-pleasing work to earn salvation.

They are a brand new breed of Pharisees.

Friday, April 18, 2008

39,000 Piece Puzzle

A small town near my brother's home has 3 Reformed churches. First Reformed, Second Reformed and "Smalltown" Reformed. This town has a population of about 1,800, why do they need 3 Reformed churches??? Could they differ that much in doctrine??? Can't they see how much more effective they would be if they joined together??? It used to really, really bother me.

The standard answer as to why there are so many denominations/congregations is that satan creates strife to prevent the work of the Kingdom from being accomplished. We get caught up in whatever little soap opera is going on around us in the congregation and take our eyes and minds off of Christ Jesus. It happens over and over.

I don't know why Smalltown has 3 Reformed churches. Maybe there were very significant disagreements over doctrine. Maybe there were issues with the character of the pastor. I can only guess. What I do know for sure is that Christ is victorious no matter how many denominations or congregations are formed. The work of the Kingdom continues to be carried on and, in the case of Smalltown, they have 3 Reformed churches carrying on the mission - preaching the Word, baptizing, sharing communion, praying, worshiping and praising! Alleluia!!

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity there are 39,000 Christian sects in the world today. That's an awful lot of people I have to convince that I am right. ;-)

What I am trying to say is that if you are looking for the differences you will easily find them. It takes real skill to find the similarities - and to see the whole picture. Like the stained glass image of Jesus, it takes many pieces to make the whole. The Lord will sort it out in the end (Matthew 13:47-50).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And now a word from the Lutherans...

There were Lutheran commentors on Candy's Keeping the Home blog!! On April 7th Candy posted an entry titled "The Whore of Babylon." Among the comments she received were messages from Caroline - former ELCA member, Deb - ELCA member, and Rebecca - WELS member. By the way, I am a LCMS Lutheran.

The comment from Rebecca is the one I find most distressing. This is what she wrote:

It is funny how this post came up, and people are talking about different denominations.I was baptised as a baby, and starting at age 12 I was brought up Lutheran. Lately I have been wondering whether the teachings of this church are correct in regards to infant baptism and communion. I go to a Wisconsin synod church, which is very conservative. If any are willing to comment on why these teachings are true or false I would be grateful. Oh, and please reference bible passages with your answers. I believe that the bible is the ONLY standard for a christian to make decisions on! Thank you,

I find this troubling because 1) The WELS members I know are so well catechized I am genuinely surprised to find one questioning either of these issues. 2) Candy being Candy there is no way a response in favor of infant baptism or communion would ever be published. And 3) There is no link to Rebecca's homepage or I would gladly write to her and explain why the teachings of WELS regarding infant baptism and communion are TRUE and BIBLICAL. There are so many links that I could share with her.

Hmmmm...what to do?....what to do?....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Freedom, Part 2

Once again (and this time complete) the first freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

I didn't intend to have a second post on religious freedom but the situation with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) piqued my interest. This is the church/compound that law enforcement authorities raided this week in Texas and removed hundreds of women and children. Members of the church are accused of polygamy, and physical and sexual abuse.

The guarantee of "free exercise" of religion obviously does not provide protection for unlawful behavior. That's a good thing....Right? In this case involving the FLDS the answer is obviously and emphatically Yes! Law enforcement should have stopped this cult's activities years ago.

There is an interesting article regarding the FLDS on MSNBC titled "Is Texas Group a Religious Sect or a Clear-Cut Cult?" From this article:

Janja Lalich, a sociologist at California State University, Chico...told LiveScience she definitely thinks the Texas compound should be called a cult. "If you've got a group that's abusing hundreds and hundreds of women and children, let's call it what it is," she said....the distinction between a legitimate sect and a cult is simple: It depends on what or whom you worship. "In a healthy or legitimate religion or sect, you are presumably worshiping some higher principle or some higher authority," Lalich said, "whereas in a cult people tend to end up worshipping that living human leader." She added, "Your salvation is tied up with that particular living leader, and obeying orders and not breaking the rules, and subjecting yourself to whatever personal transformation you're expected to go through to be on that correct path to salvation."

She hits on some of the hallmarks of a true cult:

1. Abuse or violence used against those who disobey, disagree or try to leave.

2. Leaders who claim to have the key to salvation. Outside of the cult there is no hope for salvation.

3. Leaders who claim to have a mandate from God, to speak for God. (The FLDS leader claims to be a prophet.)

4. Separation from those who do not believe as you do.

5. Teaching that obedience to the laws of the cult will result in personal transformation

Cults exist and have existed in small scale and in large scale throughout history. This isn't the first and it surely isn't the last. Plenty of cults exist and go unnoticed because members are not overtly breaking secular law. Yes, even cults are guaranteed freedom to practice their religion.

Now that I think about it, in some ways the Texas authorities who broke up the compound were acting much like Martin Luther. :-)

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Last week I saw a "coexist" bumper sticker like the one pictured above. Fourteen-year-old speculated that the driver of the car must be a pastor.


I explained (rather long-windedly) that I thought the driver would not be a pastor because the bumper sticker implies that all religions are equal and a pastor ought to believe what he believes to be the truth and not just one of many potential truths or what would be the point of believing anything. After all, believing in everything is the same as believing in nothing.

Fourteen replied, "Oh. I thought it just meant we should all get along. You know, peace and stuff."


Maybe it does....but maybe we do.

Remember this?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...

The first article of the Bill of Rights. The first freedom guaranteed to Americans. A promise that there would be no American version of the Church of England. Hence, a plethora of religions coexist here. And they not only coexist, but thrive.

"Coexist" you say? I can't imagine it any other way.