Saturday, September 06, 2008

Let's Send a Message on Election Day

To Putin and Ahmadinejad

America Will Not Back Down

America Will Not Give Up

Friday, August 29, 2008

Today in History

Twenty-seven years ago today was the best day of my life,
When my best friend became my wife.
And through all these years she has remained my best friend;
For better, for worse, through thick and through thin.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Issues, Etc. and Something Else

As many people have heard and repeated, the very popular radio program Issues, Etc has been canceled. You can affix your name to a petition to protest this action. But before you get too carried away, there may be more to the story than theology.

Over the past few years, there have been calls from within the Synod to sell KFUO. Memorial and resolutions to that effect have been proposed during the last two synodical convention cycles. The rationale for the divesting of KFUO is that it is a drain on the synod's resources which could be more effectively used in other places "to reach the lost." However, there was one little problem with that reasoning -- a little show known as Issues, Etc. This little program has attracted a huge audience not only within the LCMS, but also trans-denominationally and world-wide. And from that audience has come huge revenues. Whoops! That means KFUO could make money and be profitable. So get rid of the money-maker and the sale can go through.

The dirty little secret is that the real value (I mean huge value) in KFUO is its license. Selling KFUO means selling its FCC license and airwave rights. A one-time selling price could generate a big whopping amount of cash for synodical bureaucrats to re-allocate funds to pet projects.

By shutting down
Issues, Etc., synodical officials will be able to prove that KFUO is a money-sucking black hole. The evidence will be presented to the next convention of synod. And with great sadness, the delegates will authorize the sale of KFUO. And the synodical officials will rejoice because those same delegates will allow the synodical officials to determine the best avenue to re-allocate those funds. [People in Wisconsin can just say 'light rail' or 'deep tunnel' and realize what will happen to the money. Or Alaskans will understand the bridge to no where.]

Yes, indeed, the loss of
Issues, Etc. will be great, but two resourceful men such as Pastor Wilkens and Jeff Schwartz will easily bring something better from their loss as the phoenix rises from its ashes. As we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, let us pray that He will bring forth something far greater from the mis-guided decision of synodical bureaucrats. Let the bureaucrats go ABLAZE with the KFUO sell-off, we still have the Gospel in its purity and sweetness.

Personally, I think KFUO was a mill-stone around the creative neck of
Issues, Etc. And now the hundreds of congregations and thousands of people supporting Issues, Etc. can support a new project coming from these two gifted men.

Pastor Wilkens and Mr Schwartz, go for it.

Now, I'll go and sign the petition.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I feel like...

In pondering our current circumstances, I have come to realize how good the Triune God has been to me and my family.
  • I feel like the the widow of Zarephath (1 Kgs 17). Although she had little, the Lord permitted what little she had to sustain her and her son for several years. So also, for many years my wife has fed our family (of eight) on less than $450 per month and we always have plenty on the table and in our bellies.
  • I feel like the people of Israel whose clothes did not wear out during their 40 years in the wilderness (Dt 8). Many people have been generous with hand-me-downs for my family. We have received many name-brand, barely-worn clothing. My wife has made sure that I don't gain weight and so I can wear most of my clothes for several years.
  • I feel like Jairus who received his daughter back (Lk 8). Through the skills of doctors and their staffs, my youngest daughter has been brought back to me after several heart surgeries. I am most thankful for our Concordia Plans for covering her medical expenses and to the congregations who support Concordia Plans so that the funds would be available.
  • I feel like the man beaten by robbers whose livelihood and life were taken from him (Lk 10) who is saved by the Good Samaritan. The Lord has taught me that my life and hope do not rest in myself or others, but solely in Him. It is so hard to keep repenting of my pride and arrogance. Yet, in doing so, I return again and again to the mercies of God and find rest in His strength. Yes, many things have been taken away, but that "One thing needful" remains my inheritance and my Good Samaritan generously cares for my wounds and provides for my healing through His holy sacraments.
Now I feel like stopping.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


With everything going on in my life, my recent fortune cookie provided an appropriate fortune:

Going with the flow will make your transition ever so much easier.

My sons' fortunes could have just as easily applied also:

You should let go of negative things today. [For the record, I did let go of the negative things that day and invited back the next day.]

Tension in a partnership? It might be time for you to delegate.

(For Jeff's sake, this was not consulting a medium. It was hot and spicy.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Sale

I think one of the weaknesses of men who become pastors is how we easily succumb to buying books. Over the past quarter century, I have accumulated a lot of books. I now have more books than I have room for on my bookshelves. I decided to go through my library and drastically reduce the size of my library. My attempt resulted in a 1/3 cut in the size of my library which I am now offering for sale. A list of these books can be found as a PDF document on my website. (You will need Acrobat Reader to view the document.)

They are grouped by boxes so that I can find them easier. There is nothing special about the arrangement. The price I'm asking for each book is noted in brackets at the end of each listing (shipping and handling are not included in the number).

OFFER ONE: Until December 28th, I will be accepting an offer to buy the whole lot for $2,000 (the price and arrangements for shipping would be an additional cost). If you are interested in the whole lot, please contact me.

OFFER TWO: After December 28th, I will be accepting offers for individual books (if the whole lot is unsold).

There are three reasons for this library sale:
1) I have too many books and not enough space for them.
2) I have duplicates of several books and books I have not used (or will not be needing).
3) My financial circumstances have changed so that I could use the money more than the books.

Honest Intentions

Yesterday included our annual trek to the Chinese Restaurant for our annual Christmas Day dinner. As usual, we ate our full (more accurately, more than we should have). This year's buffet included more seafood than previous years which provided too much temptation to restrain myself. But eventually, I got around to my fortune cookie and found it intriguing.

You are a person of imaginative, yet honest intentions. [The statement implies that imaginative intentions are not necessarily honest intentions. Maybe this encourages me to know that my intentions are imaginative and honest. Yet, we know what road is paved with good intentions. Oh well! Maybe I'll have better luck with my next fortune cookie.]

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Frustrated Hearers

The following snippet fell out of a file folder recently. (It is amazing what you find when you clean out your office files.) I found the author's observation very helpful. I was more surprised when I found out who and written it. And I wondered if he would have the same observation today.

In a recent book-review article, I came across this quote. "The modern preacher might be comforted to hear that at the prime of the Reformation in 1529, Luther the preacher and the Wittenberg congregation had reached a crisis, because his preaching seemed to have no effect. Parishioners especially dreaded sermons on the Catechism, and Luther dreaded having to preach on the vices that the Reform did little to slow." As one whose sermons often leave a lot to be desired (do you ever feel that way, too?), I take some comfort in knowing that even Martin Luther had problems with his preaching once in a while. (Ralph Bohlmann, "Letter to Pastors," Reformation 1991, p. 11)

Who Wouldn't Be Frustrated?

Several years ago, I received the following snippet from a beloved (although not very lovable) professor. I found it as I was cleaning up my office. It is very appropriate to some of my current frustrations:

If I wanted to drive a manager up the wall, I would make him responsible for the success of an organization and give him no authority. I would provide him with unclear goals, not commonly agreed upon within the organization. I would ask him to provide a service of an ill-defined nature, applying a body of knowledge (few people understand in common), and staff his organization with only volunteers in addition to himself. I would expect him to work ten to twelve hours per day and have his work evaluated by a committee of 300 to 500. I would call him a minister and make him accountable to God.