Yet Another Sigh.

Not only is this young son totally unacquainted with the Divine Liturgy, or Church history, or the Lutheran confessions, and most probably never heard Chesterton’s wonderful quip about the Church being where the “democracy of the dead” still have a say,” his commenters are worse.

They are the “democracy of the dumb!”

Worst of all – he is “out there” – advertising what he says as being indicative of the Confessional Lutheran Church, and the Church Catholic of all ages.  He most certainly fails on both counts!

Were I diligently looking for “the problem” with Divine Worship in our present day and age, this posting would have to serve as Exhibit A.

He is unsure and uncertain in his own mind.  That is, alone, a personal problem.  When he shifts his problem onto the rest of us – he ends up not only shattering the 8th, but likewise, encouraging us to follow his prescription as if it were some new-found revelation, and those of us poor saps who advocate proper Divine Worship in the catholic, evangelical manner passed down (not made up by!) by our Lutheran forefathers AND the Church of all ages.

Take the issue in its barest form – Acts 2:42:

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Is there anything from the approved Synodical forms both we in weird collars and our flocks vowed to follow, that deviates from that of the Church of its earliest day?  No.  But now we have the “new and improved” liturgical geniuses who, no matter the degree, substitute what they “feel” for what is good, right and salutary, to do what he says we shouldn’t do – “dress up Jesus,” and then chastises us for dressing up Jesus.

Classic case of not knowing what one does not know he doesn’t know, and eminently ignorable.

Pax – 

 

 

Ah . . . Yes

Giving all credit due – this is a must read for Confessional Lutherans and all seeking the historic and genuine Faith of the Apostles and the Fathers.  This is the original site.

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The Rev’d Dr. Kurt Marquart on “Litugical gestures, practices, customs, and ‘styles’…”

Words of wisdom from Dr. Marquart for all of us Lutherans, especially for those who advocate so-called “contemporary worship” in the LCMS. Frankly, though, they are probably even more piquant for those self-styled “liturgical types” who don’t follow the General Rubrics (often because they don’t know/haven’t studied them) and think that they are free to bedeck the received forms with their personal idiosyncrasies and invented ceremonial flourishes.

Marquart wrote the following in 1994. I wonder what he’d say if he were still with us.

We must think in broad vistas here. It is no good snatching up some piece of detail and saying “No harm in that, is there?” Liturgical gestures, practices, customs, and “styles” are not items in a cupboard full of interchangeable bric-a-brac. They are part and parcel rather of larger complexes of meaning and must be seen in that light. Superficially it might seem, for instance, that folding hands, clapping, kneeling and foot-tapping are all pretty much the same thing. They are all neither commanded nor forbidden in Holy Scripture, and so are indifferent things or “adiaphora.” It’s all just a matter of what people are used to, right?

Wrong! Folding hands and kneeling are really very much unlike clapping and foot-tapping. They and other traditional gestures, like bowing or making the sign of the cross, are deliberate acts, in which the body obediently follows the direction of the mind and spirit. Even if they have become thoughtless and mechanical, they were once adopted quite intentionally. It is otherwise with rhythmic clapping and foot-tapping. Here the body and the senses are in the lead, with the mind and soul in tow, drifting who knows where. Kneeling and folding hands, therefore, are appropriate to the sobriety of the church’s worship, while the more involuntary, instinctual foot-tapping and hand-clapping, typical of atavistic nature-cults, fits the emotionalism of anti-sacramental sects.

It is useless to object that clapping is, after all, “scriptural,” since Ps. 47:1 says: “O clap your hands, all ye people.” This biblicism forgets that we have no “feel” for the ancient Hebrew sacral culture. Clapping today does not convey, as in the Psalm, that “the Lord most high is terrible” (v. 2). On the contrary, in our culture such behavior evokes the folksy self-indulgence of a karaoke singalong, and of a sectarianism which apes such popular pastimes.

(Rev’d Dr. Kurt E. Marquart, Church Growth as Mission Paradigm, Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1994; 104; emphases mine)

Style and substance are completely unrelated, right? We might just as well have an EDM worship service, as long as Law and Gospel are “rightly divided” from the pulpit, I suppose. Take the featured video—nothing they’re doing is explicitly forbidden by Scripture (actually…well…that might not be true); maybe their pastor preached a great sermon after they all finished thrash-dancing. I mean, David danced before the Lord, so what’s the problem? Let’s imagine a hypothetical Lutheran scenario: there’s nothing in Scripture that says that a pastor cannot put a kiddie-pool full of Jell-O on the altar, climb inside of it, and sing “Yellow Submarine.” No verse in Scripture prohibits this! If said pastor were to protest that he did what he did “for the sake of the Gospel,” then he’d no doubt be doubly invincible, “the Gospel” being a thing that is more and more “in the eye of the beholder” these days.

We know that this is ridiculous, absurd, and sacrilegious, yet still there are some who would ask that this be “proven.” I suppose they are the same who would have insisted that Justice Potter Stewart give a definition of “hard-core pornography” in his concurrence (Jacobellis v. Ohio) rather than simply stating, “I know it when I see it.” For some things, if you don’t “know it when you see it,” no amount of “proof” (assuming it could be furnished) would ever convince you. This is not a “proof” thing.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: in the final estimation, the liturgy of the Church (especially the Lutheran liturgy) is all about the commendation of the dying, because we are all, each and every one of us, dying. Pastors are to plant and water again and again the seed of the Resurrection, Christ’s Body and Blood, in the bodies and souls of dying people. This is our faith, our lex credendi: that Jesus, true God and true Man, is our Lord, Who has redeemed us and will raise us from the dead on the Last Day to life everlasting. This is, as Matthias Loy’s hymn puts it, “an awful mystery”; it is a mirandum, that is, “a wonder.” It is not “cool.” It is not “neat.” It is not “fun.” It is not “sweet” or “awesome” in the trite, insipid sense which these words have acquired. Some liturgical styles befit the worship of Christ as our God and Lord; others do not.

So beware those who imagine that all leges orandi are equal when it comes to commending the mystery of the faith to the hearts of the faithful, especially to the young. They are obviously not equal. If your worship service couldn’t be held in the catacombs—without bulletins, without a projector screen, without electricity, even—with a tangible threat of death hanging over the heads of those assembled, then a reassessment might be in order.

JohnMaryAndEucharist

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Done

No more politics here.  I don’t have the stomach for it any longer.

The great American experiment with a representative republic was not kept, as Franklin once warned a woman asking after the Constitutional Convention that formed America.  Lincoln was a harbinger of things to come.  Wilson ran with them and since his day, the entire idea of a representative republic has been compromised so many times that it has been lost.

Mealy-mouthed “conservatives” lacking a spine have tried to retain the form, but with the guts of the matter ripped out and stomped on.  Trump is a brave man, but the weight of the deep state and the entrenched interests of the unholy marriage of corporations and gummint will bring him to heel, in fact, it already has to a degree.  The commie dems announcing today they will impeach him if he fires Mueller and Rosenstein – both of whom NEED to go!

And some group feeding on assholery has filed a civil rights suit against the President.  He is being attacked from every quarter, his wife threatened, a new death threat on his 11 year old son.  And the GOPe sits on its hands.  Faux conservatives, every one of them.  Trump’s grand plans are dead, or severely compromised.  Gramsci proved himself the true prophet of communism, and America is really given over to the commies.

We are just playing out the string, and for my part, writing about the whole political scene is an exercise in total futility.  I am done wasting my time and energies to a totally lost cause.  I shall arm myself for my own personal protection, and let what will happen, happen.  Apolitical.  Two days in the hospital with nothing to do but think on theses things.  I don’t need the grief.

Theology, sermons, apologetics and the Red Sox.  That will keep me plenty busy.  So it shall be.  Pax

 

 

Anniversary

To the day. two years since his announcement he was going to kick ass and take names and beat Hillary and become POTUS.

Two years later, as POTUS – still doing the same!  Had to post.

The Donald.

Father’s Day

A day wrought with conflict.  I am a psychologist’s dream, except . . . I’m not.

One of my Dads was my idol the first 12 years of my life.  Electric trains, Christmas lights, and most of all – baseball.  Those were our things, my being the first-born son.  And especially the baseball – he was the only coach I knew until I got to Pony League and 7th grade.  1966.  Number One song – Winchester Cathedral.  Number two, and my favorite – maybe of all time – the Cyrkle and their hit – Red Rubber Ball.  My emotional favorite, especially that year?  Walk Away, Renee.

You see, in April of that year, my folks – my heroes to that point in my life – divorced.  It was nasty divorce.  I even had to speak to the judge, my being 13, in his private chambers, alone.  He figured maybe I had a handle on how all of it was hitting the five of us kids.  Couldn’t speak to the other four – just myself.  And I was a mess.  I was 13, and in a way even I perceived at that young age, on my own.  I loved Mom, but she was a far bigger mess than was I, and little prepared to shepherd the five of us, especially me, a headstrong oldest child dead set on making it to Major League Baseball.

Enter Charlie Chan.

That’s what the five of us called him – he was our provider, although I didn’t know it at the time, after my real father disappeared in August of ’66.  My real dad as an engineer made 40 grand THEN, Charlie Chan made 12 grand.  He had no business supporting a new divorced women with 5 kids and no means.  Yet, he did.  He wouldn’t live with us, until Mom relented and married him and made things legal.  They were married 20 years and one month before Charlie passed and, sad to say, the marriage was never consummated.  It is fair to say my mother, in her remaining 42 years, could never accept the divorce, nor Herb (Charlie) as her real husband.  Again – I was a psychologist’s dream patient – except I was not.

Herb became Dad in short order.  He had too, I needed a Dad, and his five sons were gone from his life and he needed an oldest son.  Don’t ask me to explain that one – because I doubt it can be explained.

Dad was, simply put, there.  H wasn’t a polished man, having been born and raised in the white German ghettos of Cleveland without his own father.  He chose to be a good father, which is, and few would disagree, a monumental choice.  And he became my father.

When I was 16 and full of rebellion, I rebelled.  I was pissed at Mom for never having come out of her self-pitying fog, and at my newer Dad for always defending her.  I never understood him doing that – not then.  However, I did – soon.

I found (way before the internet) my biological father in 1969, and took off.  No word to Mom or Dad.  Just left – disappeared.  Once there, I called them to let them know.

Three months later – I had had more than enough of my real father and his new wife.  I called and told my now “real” father and asked for a plane ticket home.  He never asked a question, but told me to call him the next day.  He gave me all the flight info for three days hence, and I went and told my real dad and his new wife, who less than two years later would give birth to my young half-brother, 18 years my junior.  They were thoroughly pissed at me.  Colors came through.  I guess their new son was a territorial claim sort of thing and all.  For precise answers, ask the psychologist I never met.

Dad and I resolved, on the trip home from the airport, to talk everything that came up mano-a-mano.  It became habit, and we were the very best of friends in a Father-Son relationship you could imagine until he passed, untimely at 57, eighteen years later.

In collar by then, I did the readings in the Catholic Church (he died in the faith), and I was a pall-bearer.  He had been at every ball-game since I was 13, my HS graduation, when I returned from my tour of Turkey in the Air Force, my college graduation at A2, where he “polluted” the mind of my favorite prof about what a rebel I had been(!), and at my ordination.  From then on he loving called me “Rabbi.”  He knew the meaning of the word, but it was his way of back-handedly complimenting me for my achievements.  In between all of that, we talked for long periods on the phone every week. despite the distance between us.

He beat bronchial cancer, and the night before his release from the hospital, with my Mom, her sister Frankie, my God-mother, and Unca Jim talking to him and making plans for when he got home, he had a massive heart attack and died immediately.  Nothing of revival efforts did a thing.  He had gone home and was finally at peace.

But he was my Father – at a time when a budding young man of 13 needs a father the most!  He was always there – I have had, since his death 30 years ago, a large hole named “Dad” in my heart.  Although safely among the eternal saints who join us every Sunday at the Eucharist, he shows up in my dreams with his presence being a bit of “familiar wisdom” to me.  I know in my dreams he is not here with me, yet he is.  Silently he still guides me in the task of being a worthy son and a good father to my own son, Daniel Paul – Daniel (Hebrew – עברית חדשה‎; Greek – Δανιήλ – and the “Paul” being for both the sainted Apostle, and Dad’s middle name.  Justifiably proud is the best construction of his reaction – he cried and laughed at the same time and puffed out his chest when I told him the name of his grandson!

I could go on and on.  But I was blessed with a man who was there when it counted most.  I pray I have been half the father to my own son, as he was to me.  I will always call him –

Dad.

Tumultuosity

Most would use tumultuous, but my little wordplay is actually grammatically correct.  It’s application is humorous to a degree, and thus “osity” qualifies as a suffix.

I said humorous to a degree.  Being a devotee of off the wall humor (I think Gary Larson achieved a level of sanity few will ever know), I am chuckling thinking of my last month.  (Lou – you’re not here to protect me from myself anymore!)

Four weeks ago to the day, Da Pug decided to wrap my ankles with his leash on the landing halfway up the stairs, turning my body off-balance as he continued up the second set of stairs, pulling the leash out of my hand, and I was leaning backward.  My left hand missed the post on the stairwell by a mere few inches, and down I went – backwards.  Tucked my head and body, and rolled and bounced down 8 steps and landed, surprisingly, on my feet, a bit worse for wear.

My brother rushed over from the living room, and given my S-I-L Elaine’s broken shoulder and Ken’s broken wrist and elbow – all happening within the month previous, he figured the worst and was asking if I wanted an ambulance.  Other than the sore spot on my lower left back of my rib cage, I really did feel okay.  I stretched, had a carpet burn mark on my right shin, but that seemed to be the extent of the damage.

Little did I know!

After that, it seemed like my sinuses went berserk.  My sinuses were flowing like tap water, my lungs were adding a like amount, and the cough was a full-blown hack.  Not so much during the day when I could take Mucinex and cough tussin, but especially at night.  It was two weeks, and my brother said make an appointment now!  So I did, and this past Monday afternoon, traipsed into the ER at the VA – unable to get through or get an appointment for the next 3 or so weeks.  Plus, sleeping on my left side was a nightmare – I would awaken with my ribs in almost mortal pain, and radiating pain across my abdomen and lower back.  I had to literally roll onto the floor and get up from my hands and knees.

WHEN I finally was seen, it was right to x-ray – lungs for the cough and the back for the ribs.  Twenty minutes later I was was put in an industrial grade nose and mouth mask, and the questions were endless – my lungs look like I had tuberculosis.  But I had been in the the country, in Houston and environs (within two hours) for the last 12 years.  No travel outsides the states since my AF duty tour in Ankara, Turkey in 1972-73.  But they had to take the cultures, and I was admitted immediately to a private room, quarantined and all that good stuff, because – tuberculosis.

I didn’t complain – my own room!

By morning, TB was ruled out, and a pneumo-nightmare ruled in.  I had pneumonia, and had had it for approximately 5 years.  My discharge diagnosis for my lungs was:

Necrotizing right upper lobe pneumonia – bacterial cause

Translated – I had had it so long some lung tissue was dying, and my intense cough was my body’s less-than-effective method of sloughing it off and out of my system.  But one thing kinda po’d me about the diagnosis.  See those last two words – bacterial cause?

I have smoked all my adult life.  No biggee, and no problems.  Looking back, I got a cold maybe every 3-4 years.  My worst cold was my last – in 2012 during my last pastorate.  It lingered on for awhile, it seemed, or the symptoms did, anyway.  Then they went away, and all seemed fine, until right after Sweet Mama Lou’s passing (sigh – miss you, Mine).  Then my sinuses began running, and I was always blowing my nose or trying to negate the nasal drip.  Mucinex seemed to do the trick for the most part.

But after my affair with the stairs, my sinuses were going nuts, as I mentioned earlier. and eventually led to the events of this last week and my hospital stay.  Yet, what po’s me was . . .

As the “secondary” diagnosis, they had listed – tobacco abuse.  Even the terminology made me laugh.  I never abused my smokes – they loved me and I loved them!  Those smokes were perfectly willing to be lit up and enjoyed.  Never once did they complain I was abusing them.  Anyway – the disconnect was right there to read.

Bacterial cause versus tobacco abuse.

I must be famous, and just haven’t been informed that I am the first case of bacterial pneumonia due to smoking.  It seems  Political Correctness has invaded medicine, as it has everything else.  I’ll wager not another soul on earth is taking Amoxicillin for “tobacco abuse.”

All of that silly nonsense aside, I am in a vigorous program to get the pneumonia cleared and the dead tissue sloughed of and out of the old bod.  It’s working – and did right away.  Amazing – the crap I am now coughing up.  And I have cut the smokes in half – down to half a pack a day. I like my smokes, and refused the “cessation clinic.”  I have listened to enough of that stuff for years, and seen and buried enough parishioners who had lung cancer and never smoked, to get too worked up about this.  My other lung is perfectly clear.

And no hacking cough at night.  My sinuses are just fine now.

However, the pneumonia is a measure easily handled by the antibiotics (they also have me on inhalers, but I have no shortage of breath).  Guess that is part of the program, so I will go with the flow on that count.  I like not coughing.

But what really has the medicos going, and I already have the follow-up appointment in 12 days, is my ribs, AND back.  Seems it was a bit more that a bruise I accomplished bouncing backward down those stairs.

The back part of my bottom two ribs sustained fractures, as did one of my vertebrae. Can’t do much about either, except wear this brace they gave me as a going-away present.  In twelve days their ortho specialist wants to see me.  The brace works well during the day – making me keep the posture sitting down Sister Maria-Therese demanded of us in 6th grade (she also taught me how to sing properly and always told me my voice was a gift few ever receive).  Having a 4+octave range and getting any note spot-on without reading music kinda seconds her words.  But I confess I have been a lazy sitter down through the ages.

Anyway – they are automatically figuring the antibiotics and sprays will keep me hacking-cough free (they do! – even though I am still puffing on my now-renamed “bacteria sticks”) and wipe out the pneumonia – no follow-up for 8 weeks on that.  But my ribs and back – all the interest has really focused on that – which has piqued my interest as well.  I am not having problems with pain – Tramadol is the first true “8-hour” pain pill I have ever taken, but even when I forget one cycle – no pain to speak of at all.

I guess my Guardian Angel has a real sense of humor.   So, and yes, tumultuosity is the proper word in my case.  And a warning:

DO NOT SMOKE OR FALL DOWN STAIRS!

It causes pneumonia!

Pax

