Monday, March 30, 2009

Britons Seek 'de-baptism'

In a sign of how upside down the thinking of the unbelieving world can be, this article reports that baptism is now considered by some to be a form of child abuse! I can't help but think that these "certificates of de-baptism" are just another way for someone to make a few bucks. It's certainly sad to see the sincerity and passion with which these people cling to their foolishness (Psalm 14:1). Unfortunately, the United States seems to be following the same trend lines as western Europe. The response of the Church in this article isn't all that encouraging, either.


More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming "There's probably no God."

"We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop," said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.

John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be "de-baptised," held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.

The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. "They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette," said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.

So that's what he did -- his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.

Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as "a form of child abuse" -- and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.

The Church of England said its official position was not to amend its records. "Renouncing baptism is a matter between the individual and God," a Church spokesman told AFP.

"We are not a 'membership' church, and do not keep a running total of the number of baptised people in the Church of England, and such totals do not feature in the statistics that we regularly publish," he added.

. . .

LCMS Seeking to Sell KFUO

Here's a St. Louis today article on the prospective sale of the LCMS-owned station KFUO. And here's a helpful clarification of some important matters by Todd Wilken.

Thoughts and Prayers

There was a tragic event in the area yesterday in which three people were killed in an accident on the way to their church. The company whose truck caused the accident put out a statement which included the phrase, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.” That phrase seems to have become the common cliche whenever some tragedy occurs. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the grieving.”

I don’t know if I’m just being nitpicky, but that phrase bugs me. First of all, I’m not sure what it even means that our thoughts go out to someone–just that we’re thinking of them? And much more importantly, our prayers go out to God, not to any person. Are we too uncomfortable to actually speak God’s name? Is prayer mentioned just as a way of sounding generically spiritual or religious?

Putting the best construction on this, what people probably mean to say, of course, is that those who lost loved ones are in their thoughts and in their prayers. How that got contorted into such bad English and bad theology, I don’t know. Why can’t we just say what we mean? “Our hearts ache for the family in their loss. We are thinking of them in this difficult time and are praying to God for them.” May the peace of Christ the crucified be granted to all the grieving.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rescinding the Conscience Clause

From Lutherans for Life:

Many people are aware that President Obama is in the process of rescinding a regulation from late in the Bush administration allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections.

What many do not realize is that the required public comment phase began March 10 and ends April 9.

It is also very difficult to find the link to provide such comment. Click here for the link―and please pass along.

Jim Lamb

Lutherans For Life

And Now for Something Completely Different

A little comic relief for the weekend--here's an oldie but a goody from Tim Hawkins. No offense intended to Carrie Underwood fans.

And if you enjoy this, here's some more on parenting and marriage.

Tragic Coincidence

This is certainly strange if it is true:

"Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.

"But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte - contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the 'Tomb of the Unborn'. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

". . . The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim's memorial, is the family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation."

I don't necessarily like the tone of the rest of the linked article--it seems to verge on gloating just a bit. Luke 13:1-5 needs to be kept clearly in mind. But still, what a strange and tragic coincidence.

"Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:4-5). God have mercy on us all for the sake of Christ.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Here's this evening's sermon on the Passion reading, Matthew 27:1-31, especially the concluding verses.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Special Olympics

After our President's recent gaffe comparing his bowling to being "like Special Olympics," here's a nice reminder of someone actually speaking in a classy way on the subject.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Youth Ministry

I hate to post a link to a link, but the video here is very entertaining if you've got an offbeat sense of humor and have had any exposure at all to fundy/evangelical style youth ministry. Pastor Cwirla's comments about all this are good, too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Funniest Fake Political Headline of the Day

From Fark: "Newest Obama appointee's office raided by FBI. Left finally comes to terms that Obama is not Jesus. Jesus could actually build a cabinet."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Couple of Good Articles

From Pastor Greg Alms, on rituals, darkness, death, sleep, resurrection. . . : Bedtime Prayers

And from Mollie Ziegler Hemingway on the Gay Rights movement and Proposition 8: California's Temper Tantrum

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I don't know much about Hans Joachim Iwand, but I do like this quote of his (passed along from the Rev. John Frahm):

"An evangelical church which looks upon the doctrine of justification by faith as a self-evident banality one no longer needs to dwell upon because other problems are more pressing has robbed itself of the possibility of arriving at solutions to such problems. It will only tear itself further apart. If the article of justification is removed from the center we will very soon no longer know why we are and must remain evangelical Christians. Then we will strive for the unity of the church and sacrifice the purity of the gospel; we will expect more from church order and government, from the reform of ecclesiastical office and church discipline, than these can deliver. One will flatter piety and despise doctrine; one will run the risk of becoming tolerant where one should be radical and radical where one should be tolerant - in short, the standards will be skewed and therewith also what is necessary and right in all reforms for which we struggle today will no longer be comprehensible."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What makes the pastor happy

Amen to this. All it really takes to make a pastor happy is for his people faithfully to receive his preaching and his ministry, that is, to receive the preaching of Christ and the giving out of His gifts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Trying Out Audio Player

I've been wanting to post audio here from time to time, especially sermons. And so I'm testing out an audio player for that purpose. (Thanks to Jon Kohlmeier for getting the player and html code!) Since I don't have a sermon I want to put up at the moment, I offer the following pieces of music performed by my daughter Hannah at Lutheran Summer Music camp back in the summer of '07. (Hopefully my pride in her doesn't conflict too much with an appropriate sense of Lenten humility.) She's been on my mind today, anyway, since she's on a trip out of state this week with the high school choir. The first and last recordings are trio/concerto pieces by Dvorak; the second one is a solo piano piece by Debussy. All of them really come into their own around the 1:00 minute mark. Hopefully this will work. Enjoy!

Update: I see that LSM is being spotlighted in Lutheran Witness this month--for whatever that's worth.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


(Leaving the realm of theology for a moment and delving into a bit of politics:)
Victor Davis Hanson is an excellent thinker and writer, and this article is a good example of that. It's worth reading all the way through. (Of course, the above comes with the disclaimer that this is purely my own view and not necessarily that of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church.)

Resistance is Futile

After many months of resisting getting a Facebook account, I've finally relented. Several old friends at my gradeschool, Trinity Lutheran School in Delray Beach, Florida, got in touch over the weekend and are trying to get a reunion scheduled, and Facebook is a good way for us to reaquaint ourselves in the process. How strange to see the old pictures of us on a class trip or at the 6th grade dance! Lots of memories come flooding back. Most of my classmates have aged better than me, but I can live with that.