funeral

Funerals are times that can upset one's spiritual equilibrium, especially if the deceased died unexpectedly, and especially if the family has to put together all of the details in a rushed manner.  But one aspect that I find disturbing is how easily sentiment can trump what a person (supposedly) has been taught for most of that person's life. Twice I have found the following in a funeral bulletin or memorial card:

"God saw that he was getting tired,
and a cure was not to be.
So He put His arm around him
And whispered, "Come with Me."
With tearful eyes, we watched
him gradually fade away,
Although we loved him dearly
We could not bid him stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands to rest.
Through grace and faith,
God proved to us,
He only takes the best."

Oh boy! The last lines of that poem should raise a red flag for any Christian, let alone Lutheran! God only takes the best?? Wow! That leaves the entire world excluded except one person, doesn't it? Obviously the author tried to qualify his assertion by throwing in some words "grace" and "faith," but that only makes the whole last sentence a bit of nonsense. The best shouldn't need grace, nor do they need faith. They earned their place by being the best, thank you. Unfortunately, that kind of "best" won't be good enough. The rest of us need all the faith and grace God will give, and, thankfully, it is a sufficient abundance, thanks to the best Jesus gave, His atoning death.
The troubling part of this is, long after the pastor's words about faith in Christ have been forgotten, this poem will still be around in print to influence the thinking of friends and survivors.

metoo2

According to much of what has been written, revealed, and admitted to in the past six months, the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's really wasn't so liberating after all.The "end," or goal of the sexual revolution was personal enjoyment without responsibility. That freedom from responsibility was the "free" in "free love." But the tactic of separating love from sex was not so freeing. In fact, one might argue that it created a vacuum, and you know what they say about a vacuum – nature abhors it. So, apparently, does our fallen nature. And so replacing love in the pair came power. Love allowed sex to be used not just for one's own gratification, which it is capable of doing. Love allowed sex to be an act of giving oneself to another in an atmosphere of trust. It was a full, intimate disclosure of oneself to the beloved. But when power pushed love aside to become sex's roommate, the notion of sex being for the pleasure and fulfillment of the other went out the window. It is all about what I want. Free from responsibility toward the partner. Sex became a means to dominate another person, male or female.

So we are left with a curious mess on the battle field of life between the sexes. On the one hand, using sex as an instrument of power is now admitted to be a huge no-no. Hollywood and Washington and everywhere in-between has received that message. Jobs have been lost. Prices have been paid. Scorn and shame are alive and well, thank-you. But there is a second message rising from the debris: "We don't want this to bring about a return to traditional morality." Oh no! God forbid that the notion that the Creator knew best what He was creating regain acceptance! What then? Will intercourse need to be preceded by a pre-intercourse agreement, signed by both parties, sworn to by both that what is about to happen is not happening under duress or by force or threat? Will a video camera need to record both parties stating that what they are about to do is with the full consent of both parties? You see where this is headed? With such testimonies available, the State will become the arbiter of all things moral. How dare the Church judge me and hold me accountable! But the State, on the other hand, well, I need to cover and protect my assets, so OK. Besides, with the State, what was once wrong can become right with the passage of time. Far better than wrestling with laws of a God who says He changes not. Yet it seems that human actions continue to verify that very truth. When it comes to sex, there's no escaping accountability, especially when love has nothing to do with it.

AllSaintsDay

I had the pleasure of worshiping in two of our congregations on All Saints Day.

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