Daily Lectionary Podcast – Joel 3:1-21 and Romans 12:14-13:14

Joel 3:1-21
Romans 12:14-13:14
Government as weather, focus on personal holiness

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Joel 2:18-32 and Romans 11:25-12:13

Joel 2:18-32
Romans 11:25-12:13
Church as a body, The Church’s One Foundation (LSB 644)

An Unwelcome Royal We

This is the President’s statement today, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the annual march for life…

Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.

“We” do not recommit ourselves to that decision, as the thousands outside your doorstep should signal. “We” do not even agree that the principle you site could be found in that decision.

“We” might agree on health care, but abortion is not health care. It is the taking of a life.

“We” do agree on reproductive freedom, just not that taking life is part of reproduction. Abortion stops a beating heart, it does not reproduce one.

“We” do agree with healthy communities. “We” believe that starts with protecting the least. “We” believe that any society based on a fundamental right to end a life is not a healthy community. “We” believe that “all our children” includes the 55 million that have been silenced.

“We” do believe that “everyone deserves the same freedom”. That freedom starts with the right to life.

That someone could issue such a statement is ghastly. He is my President. But I must exclude myself from that “We”.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Joel 2:1-17 and Romans 11:1-24

Joel 2:1-17
Romans 11:1-24
Vine & Branch or Organic Metaphors for Justification and the Christian Life, O Blessed Spring (LSB595)

Why Calvin and not Luther?

This is required reading. The first paragraph…

Why is Calvinism so influential among American Evangelicals while Lutheranism is not? We might describe the statistically modal convert to Calvinism—that is, the most frequently observed kind of convert—as a person like this: A young adult, usually male. Raised in a broad though indistinct Evangelical (and sometimes nominally Catholic) home. Bright. A reader. Searching for better intellectual answers to questions about God, Jesus and the Bible. Is open to becoming a pastor. Why does this young man so much more often become a Calvinist instead a Lutheran?

This first paragraph is something I bang my head on a daily when I interact with American Evangelicals or read descriptions of American Christianity. It is like Lutherans and Lutheranism is the invisible man. Evangelicals who know “something is missing” will experiment with Episcopal (even though they think they are heretics) or Rome (even though they don’t get the whole Mary thing) but Luther isn’t even on the radar. And even when they do come in the door the place “feels different”. This article gets it exactly right.

I’d emphasize one thing that came up in Bible Class Sunday. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 Paul talks about the various factions of the church at Corinth. I think these factions are highly identifiable to anyone who has spent time in the church. Paul = those who knew the founder, Apollos = those who are more intelligent and learned, Peter = those who are the simple members and wish Paul and Apollos would get off their high horses and “I follow Christ” = those who just want everyone to get along (while recognizing us as being more spiritual for saying so). If you are having fights in a church, those are the camps to this day. The advanced cases of church fights are when those camps have become identities such that you can’t imagine sharing fellowship with a Paulite or a Peterine.

So what does that have to do with Calvin and Luther? Well…Peter = Rome (here comes everybody), “I follow Christ” = Pentecostals, Paul = Luther and Apollos = Calvin. Paul/Apollos, Luther/Calvin, have a natural antipathy. And that antipathy is grounded in the fact the while Luther was first he didn’t change enough and really reform the church. Luther kept the sacraments in what any “learned modern Apollos” would see as medieval superstition.

So, that is my ecumenism is short. I think our “denominations” might be fine if they were like Augustinians and Franciscans and Dominican and Jesuits and so forth. One of the great tests is Gamaliel’s: leave them alone and if it is not from God it will go away (Acts 5:34ff). By this time 500 years later not even Zwingli has gone away, so in some way God is present in all of these. We would be much better off focusing on what unites and get over claiming an identity. And as much as I think Luther gets it right, and wish that American Evangelicals would give him a listen, our baptisms unite us and we are fellow pilgrims under the power of the cross (1 Cor 1:17).

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Joel 1:1-20 and Romans 10:1-21

Joel 1:1-20
Romans 10:1-21
The Word of God from outside of us as rain; Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens (589)

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Ezekiel 47:1-14, 21-23 and Romans 9:1-33

Ezekiel 47:1-14, 21-23
Romans 9:1-33
Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain (#425), Reconciling Election in the Person of Jesus Christ

What are You Seeking?

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Biblical Text: John 1:29-42
Full Sermon Draft

That title was Jesus’ first question of two would-be disciples. It still stands for all would-be disciples. What are you seeking? At the level of first things there are only two answers. This sermon looks is about that question, those answers and what they mean for us.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Ezekiel 40:1-4, 43:1-12 and Romans 8:18-39

Ezekiel 40:1-4, 43:1-12
Romans 8:18-39
Frustrated Glory, Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory (416)

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Ezekiel 39:1-10, 17-29 and Romans 7:21-8:17

Ezekiel 39:1-10, 17-29
Romans 7:21-8:17
The Divine Warrior declares peace, the War within our own members