De-Confirmed

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This article is pointed at Lutherans of the Missouri stripe.  However, I am sure it will speak to a wider audience.

It is not the Church’s business to de-confirm anyone.  You do it yourself.  You do it when you despise the preaching of the Word of God and the Sacraments.  If you remember your days in the catechism you will remember well Luther’s meaning to the third commandment.  When I say despise this is what Luther means and what I mean; that there is nothing keeping you from being near the Word and hearing it, and tasting it in the Sacrament of the Altar and still you do not come.

It is not like the Lord Jesus gave his Christians His Words and Sacraments so that we might never hear them or take them.  He did say “this do often” in regards to the Sacrament of the Altar.  Jesus did spend a great deal of time reminding his disciples “if you abide in my Word you are truly my disciples,” (John 8.31) and again “As a branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15.4)  There is even a more unmistakable passage that we cannot get around as Christians and especially Lutherans John 6.56, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”  Not one of these passages can be separated from the other.  It is not like one is sufficient above or over the others.  They were all told to the disciples throughout their journey with Jesus of Nazareth.  They were then preached by the Apostles to the Church.  That preaching remains to this day in certain places as Jesus still calls to his people, “Abide in my Words, eat my body and blood, and you will abide in me and you will bear fruit.”

The point of this article is to unsettle you.  To unsettle you if you still claim the name “Lutheran” or even “Christian” and yet rarely if ever practice what that name implies as Jesus himself spells out clearly.  This is also to unsettle any who think they can get around the words of Jesus himself when he says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”  Jesus is clear that if you are not eating his true flesh and blood you are not eating true food, nor will you abide in him.

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Which God in a Technological Age?

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Our god(s) determine our daily life. As a Christian theologian and pastor my goal is that the Christian community and life be determined by the God of Israel who raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. I am convinced a life determined by that God looks differently than much of the current practice and speech coming from the Church.
Even though we cannot turn back the hands of time the Christian Church stands with all attention to its Saints of old as it marches into the future. Those saints have a great story to tell, and from them we learn much. In those days all life revolved around the preaching of the Word and the reception of the Sacraments and the praying of prayers. Long before the Pope’s tyranny came to fruition the life of Christians was determined by the church bells. Morning Matins, mid-day Divine Service, and evening Vespers were the physical and spiritual motion of faithfulness. Not to mention the care for the community and hospitality to strangers freely practiced.
When I reflect on what determines the lives of Western Christians I come to the conclusion that it is cars, petroleum, cell phones, or electricity before it is the God Jesus prayed to. This technologically advanced and increasingly consumerist culture has determined our thinking and life much more than the God we claim to follow. My opinion is that we are more aware of these realities as Christians than we admit. We notice them and complain about them here and there, but we simply do not have the vocabulary to talk about such issues. Nor do we have what feels like a safe group to talk within. One of the goals of this article is to kindle and promote such a vocabulary and group.
This is not an article calling for the return of wild aesthetics. This is an article calling for the return of Theology. God is still speaking and he still has demands for his Christians in this modern age. The difficulty is that these demands might and often do stands in conflict with the current practices and thoughts Christians and the Church are involved in. In that moment the God of Israel is in a stand-off with the gods of this age, and like the people of Israel in the Wilderness the main question we American Christians face is not, “will we be faithful to a god?” it is “which god will we be faithful to?”