It’s Not in My Genes…

Last week one of the workers removing asbestos from our sanctuary took a fall off a 14 ft. ladder onto the concrete floor. We thanked God that he was not badly injured–only whiplash injuries, and have continued to pray for the crew and their safety.

Eliana asked about him a couple of days ago, and yesterday decided to make a card for him, addressed to “Man Who Fell Off Ladder At Church” (dictated by Mrs. This Side…).

I’m proud of that girl. I wish I could be half as sweet and thoughtful as her. She must get it from her mother!

The Nearest Book Meme

I know this is not how this is supposed to work, but I thought it fun, so I’m breaking blog rules. The blog that tagged others would never tag me (I don’t comment there and run in different ecclesial circles).

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

So here it is:

“I live in Iceland.” Because of the joke, Kerthialfad spared his life. To be courageous is to be someone on whom reliance can be placed.

I Tag: Rasburry, Anastasia, Gadfly, Doorman, Emily

PS If you read here regularly but I don’t tag you, it’s because I don’t know you read here because you don’t leave comments. So let’s fix that, eh? 🙂

Thought I’d add what book it was from:After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Third Edition. I’d pulled it down to re-read and perhaps write something on as his thesis relates to theology, but it was just sitting there.

Hypocricy Defined

Especially for Pastors, Teachers, and Critics…

“A brother asked Abba Poemen: What is a hypocrite? The old man said to him: A hypocrite is one who teaches one’s neighbor something without making any effort to do it oneself.”

“Abba Poemen also said: Someone who teaches without doing what one teaches resembles a spring, which cleanses and gives drink to everyone else, but is not able to purify itself.”

HT: Mind in the Heart

Rich Fare, Hard Work

Why is it that we can sit for hours reading a novel, but 20 minutes of Psalms feels like a chore?

Why is it that I can sit for hours in front of a computer monitor, but sitting–not even standing–in prayer for ten minutes makes me fidget?

It is work to pray. The Scriptures are rich fare–so unlike the dust of most novels. Worship and prayer require concentration and energy. Television does not–not even the History Channel or the so-called “The Learning Channel” (TLC now).

And we have an enemy, lest we forget, who desires to distract us from the “one thing needful,” with every pleasure, with every entertainment, even with work and labor, so that we will not pray, so that we will not worship, so that we will not love others.

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you, mercifully grant that by your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord… (Collect for Sexagesima, LSB).

Another Sign Babies Are People Too

Babies apparently can identify “good samaritans” and prefer their company, so says this article. I love stories like this because they remind us that even the smallest are not as oblivious and incapable as we sometimes think. That they can identify kind people and choose their company shouldn’t surprise those who also say that the same little ones can have faith.

Today’s Silliness

What Kind of Drink Are You?

You are a Fine Glass of Wine. You are sophisticated and refined, but also complicated and hard to deal with. Not everyone loves you, but those who do swear that you’re the coolest thing since sliced bread. One of these days the people that matter will understand you. Until then, you will be sitting on your throne as the distinguished product that not everyone has the taste to appreciate.
Find Your Character @

The Real Opiates

Marx lied and said that religion was the opiate of the masses, meaning of course that religion induces a stupor whereby we become distracted and unconcerned with the harsh and unfair reality. Second Terrace puts this notion to rest and introduces his list of opiates for the masses today. Please note: Second Terrace is not the easiest blog to read and uses a peculiar vocabulary…but one worth learning.

His list:

Sports. Not backyard sports but professional sports and parent-organized youth teams.

Professional Politics. Not local politics, but the glossy package of national politics

Wealth Management. The “human sacrifice” we give for more money.

Orthodox Church Structure (the author is Orthodox). You may substitute your own denomination’s turmoil or political problems and “If only’s…” here. Optional: if church politics don’t distract you, then substitute company politics, city politics, or whatever else you obsess about.

Entertainment. Fun. Not Christian joy, but entertainment. Continually. Fun as the measure of good things. Was it fun? No? Then it must be bad.

Professional Sex. Or sex-obsessed society.

And his list of mantras that can induce stupor simply be repeating them.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

This has been making some rounds across the internet today (I’ve checked my blog reader breifly two times and seen references to this five or more), but I thought it profound:

God is good, dispassionate, and immutable. Now someone who thinks it reasonable and true to affirm that God does not change, may well ask how, in that case, is it possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are good and showing mercy to those who honour Him, and as turning away from the wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honour Him, for that would mean He is swayed by pleasure. It is not right that the Divinity feel pleasure or displeasure from human conditions. He is good, and He only bestows blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the other hand, if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him, but if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. By living in holiness we cleave to God; but by becoming wicked we make Him our enemy. It is not that He grows angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is our own sins that prevent God from shining within us and expose us to demons who torture us. And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made Him to change, but that through our actions and our turning to the Divinity, we have cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God’s goodness. Thus to say that God turns away from the wicked is like saying that the sun hides itself from the blind.

Who said such things? St. Antony the Great.*


*St. Antony the Great is, well, the Great. A hermit of Egypt, an early monastic, whose biography (written by no less than St. Athanasius) made monasticism known and popular in the 4th century. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession refers to him favorably in AP XXVII.38

Fastenzeit is Near

The Lenten fasting season begins in just over two weeks, and I am looking forward to it.

Two years ago the vicar and I presented the congregation with the basics of the traditional Western Rite fast. Previously this congregation was used to the idea of “giving up” something for Lent, but wasn’t too aware of the practice of giving up food for Lent. Vicar presented what my friend Fr. Fenton gave for his (then) congregation in Detroit. It was a surprise to many. The next year I worked up a leaflet for the congregation which gives not only the fasting guideline, but also gives some background from Scripture and the Confessions, along with a FAQ and resources published by the LCMS. I heard more of a response last year, no doubt due to my Vicar’s excellent groundwork laid the year before.

I’m providing a link here for the leaflet. Feel free to use it as you wish. If your pastor doesn’t address the Lenten fast much, feel free to share it with him. For purists, please note that I’ve modified the fast for the sake of this congregation. I eliminated the Ember Days and Advent Fast (don’t hit me!), and made some decisions about seafood and cheese which some may quibble with. The Ember Days and Advent Fast may show up in the 2nd Edition, but we’re taking baby steps here.