Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reformation Sunday

I found this essay from the Billings Gazette, October 30, 2010 worth sharing.

Oct. 31 brings a conflict of interest for Lutheran Christians.

At the same time we’re enjoying Halloween, we also mark the anniversary of the Reformation on the same day.

I’ve always wondered what people would think if I dressed up my kids as little Martin Luthers to go door-to-door nailing up pamphlets challenging Christians to get over their superstitious hang-ups and be true to the Gospel of Love.

There are different ways of telling the story of the Reformation, not all of them accurate.

A popular misconception in our time is that the reformers proclaimed “Sola Scriptura” as a way of replacing unquestioning obedience to the church hierarchy with unquestioning obedience to the Bible. In this version of the story, Martin Luther becomes the pioneer of American fundamentalism.

A more accurate version of the story would be that two competing readings of the Bible came into conflict with each other.

The church’s official reading of the Bible assumed that this was a book about sin and guilt and the authority of the church to save people from damnation if they submitted to this authority.

The reformers, when they looked at the Bible, saw a different story. It was a story of God’s love for humanity becoming more important than judgment of sin, or control, or domination.

It was a story of a free gift being offered in Jesus, a gift that cannot be held for ransom by churches or manipulative preachers. They found in Scripture that God’s purpose for humanity was abundant life and love and peace, in spite of the many ways we fail to live up to these ideals.

It was another conviction of the reformers that the church must always be reforming.

The insight they gained was that a human organization that dares to try to represent God in this world will inevitably fall prey to the very worst forms of corruption. The necessary corrective is a constant process of self-critical reflection, always looking at the sins of religious people before proposing to heal the rest of the world.

A look at our religious landscape today might give the impression that the Reformation never happened.

The bad reputation of churches and religious people in our culture is well-deserved, with the most audible religious voices being voices of extremism, judgment, fear and division.

The reputation of the Christian Gospel in our time and place is not of a free gift of life, love and peace, but a gift held captive to prescribed patterns of religiosity, contempt for the poor and vulnerable and nostalgic notions of family, sexuality and marriage.

The insight of the Reformation is that the Christian Church does not have an automatic right to exist.

If it fails to proclaim and exhibit Christ’s love, the church is on its own. Jesus will be at work, even outside the church, if necessary, gathering people who really want grace, love and peace.

The Rev. Eric Thorson is the pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Happy Halloween

I found this template on the History Channel website. I was looking for something a little bit different for the pumpkin other than the usual eyes and toothy grin. Though it was a challenge, and next year, I will get one of those pumpkin carving kits-my paring knife was a bit of an overkill, I am pleased with the results. I live in the country, and so this Halloween, I have not seen any trick-or-treaters, though this is par for the area. Hope your day was a fun-filled one, however you chose to celebrate it. Remember, each day is a celebration.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Lessons from the Lake

Friday, the Food Pantry Hiking Society finished its last hike for the season. The days are getting shorter, and thus, harder to complete an 8 mile hike and home in the day light. Our latest hike was to Boot Lake. Twice before we were foiled to go the distance. First by high water in the creek, the second rain. But the third time was a charm. Boot Lake is a man-made lake, primarily used for irrigation storage. It's depth is determine by man, and so, the levels are inconsistent. Like so many of our man-made plans-disappointing, inconsistent,empty, destructive in many ways. Unless God builds a house..., I know the plans I have for you....-God's plans. Again, outside of God's plans for us, when we are trying to fill our man-made pursuits, our lives become empty, always poured out, never being filled by God spirit-a dry reservoir. Kinda like Boot Lake

Sunday, October 3, 2010


. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

2. Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

I'm not sure what these photos have to with friends, other than they were taken during outings with friends. Good friends, a reminder of what kind of friend Jesus is to me.. Just like the song. gifts all