Sunday, October 11, 2009

A few brief thoughts--too long for a tweet, too short to stand on their own

I'm keeping these thoughts short today because I'm tired and I need to attend to my sick children.
1. Confirmation and the topic of confrimation still gets people all riled up in Lutheran congregations. I remember years ago reading something to the effect of Luther writing/saying, "If we are going to have Confirmation in this Church, you can be assured that God has no part in it." I need to look for this thought in Luther's writings and see how much I've butchered it. What it comes down to is that we are called out to help the people of God fulfill their part in the promises made in baptism. It's not about the rite of passage in and of itself or how much pain is inflicted. The question is--how are the promises going?

2. I appreciate the energy and perspective of the youth during the worship service and wonder why congregational life marginalizes that gift.

3. I think I have sermon series titles/themes: "How To Be Rich In A Troubled Economy" will run from October 25th-November 15th. November 22 we have an outside group coming to lead worship called "Liberty." Our sermon series from November 29-December 27 will be "Tell Me A Story: Bible Stories from the Birth of Jesus." I'm close to a theme for January, but I have some more thinking/praying/discerning to do.

4. It's been interesting following the Christianity 21 conference in Minneapolis this past week. I'm not exactly sure what to say about it, but many mission leaders whom I respect have taken part. I have just about completed the part of my life failing in my attempts to be cool, hip, or on the cutting edge. But I still try to be faithful, and I'm willing to try new things--hence I do things like Twitter and blogging, but I didn't break my back to attempt to get to C21. In earlier years, I would have attempted to do that. I trust that God will work through those in attendance, and that I will learn and be challenged in my own time. I am thankful I am not fighting a negative tide in this congregation.

5. I want my kids to get well and stay well. I hate to watch them suffer.

May the rest of your Sunday and week be peaceful.


  1. 1. Luther's unconfirmed comments on Confirmation are intriguing, especially given his emphasis on the process of "catechism." Along the same lines as Luther's recommendation to "sin boldly." Definitely needs some context and explanation. look forward to hearing more! :)

    2. I thought that Jeanne, Phil, and Youth Group did a great job today conveying to the congregation a simple and great and important message. I want to see and hear more. Seems weird to me that we in the church seem to marginalize youth by making them nothing more than "the future" or "the problem," while the culture at large celebrates the "culture of youth" while marginalizing the young. Not sure I have a much better comment on this, at least not one I can cram into the space of a blog response!

    3. (a.) The funny and faithful Liberty is always a welcome addition to our services. (b.) Your sermon series titles sound intriguing, especially the "Bible Stories From the Birth of Jesus." Most people think that there are only two stories of the birth of Jesus in the gospels (Matt and Luke), but I insist that there are actually five - maybe more. Ask me sometime!

    4. I have followed the Christianity 21 Conference somewhat haphazardly on Twitter and have also found it interesting. One problem though: I think the "gnostic" tendencies of some speakers are an ancient and continual issue for Christianity. Perhaps we need a better understanding of what "gnosticism" entails. This to is too big a subject for a blog comment.

    5. And finally, a prayer goes out for your daughters to get well! And one for you to stay well!


  2. Hey Tracy--

    The phantom Luther comment had to do with the whole concept that somehow a "confirmation" of baptism was somehow required in the Church--which made Luther shudder. Baptism didn't need another transaction later in life. He loved catechism, but hated the idea of confirmation being attached to it. The Lutheran Book of Worship tried to allow for for this distinction by not calling the rite "confirmation" but "Affirmation of Baptism." You can change the name all you want, but Baby Boomers will continue to recall their traumatic Saturday mornings in church basements, while their parents will fondly recall the benefits of discipline. I see very few congregations that have taken positive ownership of their baptismal promise education to young people. The topic is wrought with peril--but I love telling people that Luther didn't put together the Large and Small Catechism for use by pastors, but in the home.