Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's the tax code that limits free speech of pastors

Lyndon Johnson when he was a Senator got an amendment to the tax code passed in 1954 with no legislative analysis, no committee hearings, and no debate which silenced pastors criticizing specific candidates. . . like Lyndon B. Johnson. For the last 57 years, that amendment to the tax code has scared off pastors from saying anything that might be construed as political--like marriage, abortion, education, etc. Let’s take back the first amendment rights of pastors and churches. (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.)

Appeals Court Rules for Religious Freedom |

Although I'm not sure what "dressing like a Catholic" looks like, this decision looks like a win for Church employers.
St. Catherine and other ministries have the right to employ only those who agree with their religious teachings and apply them to their daily lives. The Court said a contrary result would be “nonsensical,” reasoning that ”Kennedy admits that St. Catherine could fire her for her religion without any recourse. But, by first asking if she would consider changing her clothing before terminating her—i.e., by giving her the opportunity to keep her job—St. Catherine would suddenly open itself up to the strictures of Title VII. Such an approach cannot be squared with Congress’ desire in the first instance to permit a cooperative, accommodative approach to workplace discrimination.”
Appeals Court Rules for Religious Freedom |

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Luther and "omne trium perfectum"

I never get tired of reading Luther. Today I noticed in ONE paragraph he used the "rule of 3" 11 times. That would be: "omne trium perfectum" (everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete). I'd never heard of that rule, but figured it must be out there, so I googled it and found it. Luther's article was on "Christian Freedom" and I assume it was written in Latin, then translated to German, then to English, so that's 3 also!
  • victory, salvation and redemption
  • has neither sinned nor died and is not condemned
  • he cannot sin, die or be condemned
  • his righteousness, life and salvation are unconquerable
  • [in the wedding ring of faith] he shares in the sins, death and pains of hell of his bride [the church]
  • makes them [sins] his own and acts as if they were his own, and as if he himself had sinned
  • suffered, died and descended into hell
  • his righteousness is greater than the sins of all men, his life stronger than death, his salvation more invincible than hell
  • [believer] is free from all sins, secure against death and hell and is endowed with eternal righteousness
  • by faith in the Word of life, righteousness and salvation
  • he marries her in mercies, righteousness and justice
And those groups of three were inside a power of faith, also three.

John records that "King of the Jews" was written in 3 languages and posted on the cross: Hebrew, Latin, and Greek--the language of the Jews--God's chosen people, the language of the political power of the world--Rome, and the language of literature, art, history, philosophy, science, mathematics, drama and all educated people.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Leaning on the everlasting arms

We sang that old hymn at the dockside service at Lakeside last Sunday, Sept. 4. Published in 1887, it tells of the assurance of God's steadfast care and guidance in tough times, and offers the peace of a relationship with him. I grew up in the Church of the Brethren where I don't recall we sang anything that had a beat--and then in 1974 became a Lutheran and they missed out on those twangy camp songs too, being mostly ethnic Scandinavians (in our synod). The first time I heard it was in Flat Creek, Kentucky in 1956 where my sister Carol was a volunteer church worker through Brethren Volunteer Service. Because she was only 19 at the time, and I was her "little" sister, I was stunned at the level of spiritual and social responsibility she had. Like riding horseback into the mountains to provide Sunday school in areas that had no passable roads; working in the garden and taking care of chickens (and plucking them) for food for the staff (I think there were 5 people living in a little house); helping the local women with sewing and. . . leading hymns like this one. In that area of the country it was sung like a dirge and a capella--not peppy and clappy the way we did it at dockside with an electronic organ. Carol went to be with the Lord in 1996, but everytime I hear "Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms," I think of that amazing, fearless teen-ager. Now I keep track of her 5 grandchildren (4 teens) on Facebook, Will, Jenny, Rachel, Catie and Chris.

Carol's BVS unit 1955. Wearing white blouse, looking between two women in the second row. She also helped flood victims in Pennsylvania, canvassed a neighborhood in Denver for a church plant, and was a "guinea pig" for the NIH. In 1957 she entered Goshen College in Indiana where she got her RN.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Lutheran Book of Worship

At the Lakeside Women's Club booksale August 7 I got an LBW in excellent condition for $.20. I got a "bag of books" for $1, so that made this one pretty cheap. Although our MR campus is not using a hymnal, our LR campus does, and often I see something I want to read, but have to move on in the service.

There is no stamp of ownership, but inside there is a hymn glued to the cover written and composed for the Centennial Anniversary of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. I checked Google, and didn't find a church named Emmanuel founded in 1896, however, it's possible that the hymn was written for another dedication and just added here. Except for a yellow paper clip, there's not much record of use.