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The Good News for Parents

May 20, 2015 1 comment

The Gospel for parents who fail.

http://www.mbird.com/2015/05/absolved-parenthood/

Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2013. “Terrifying Kindness”. St. Luke 5:1-11

Saint%20Peter's%20Fish5th Sunday after Trinity

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. Luke 5:1-11 (1 Cor. 1:18-25, 2 Kings 19:1-11)

June 30, 2013

“Terrifying Kindness”

Jesu juva!

INI

You’ve stood in a checkout line before, haven’t you, behind a mother with her kid who pesters her to buy him some candy or a toy? Mom says, “No.” The kid tries to reason with her, explaining why it is a good and sensible idea for him to get this Snickers bar, and how it would benefit her and him alike. And Mom still says no. And the kid continues and reminds his mother how often he is deprived of simple pleasures like this Snickers bar which nearly every other child in America is given every time they enter a store. If mom still says no, maybe her child begins to call into question her justice and her compassion. After all, you, Mom, quite frequently buy yourself a Snickers bar when you go to the store. So you are not being fair. You are not treating me equally. On top of this it is questionable whether you really love me as you ought to as my mother, because so often I ask you for things and you don’t give them to me. Yes, how could you love me when you never give me what I ask for, but you constantly yell at me and punish me, make me eat the terrible food you cook, make me do incredibly boring things that no one else has to do like go to church and do chores, and on top of it all you clearly love my brother more than me and give him whatever he asks for?

Sometimes Mom breaks down. Maybe she feels guilty about her failures as a parent, or maybe she thinks that love means doing what the person you love says will make them happy. Or maybe she’s just tired that day.

Of course, the child will always remember this act of kindness, right? He’ll never say that his mom doesn’t love him again. He’ll see this act of kindness and honor his mom from this point on and eat his Hamburger Helper without complaining and wishing he had a Happy Meal.

Hm. You seem skeptical about this. I’m surprised to see that you are so cynical about human nature.

But you may have a point. It does seem to be true that a lot of times when you show grace to kids they don’t respond to it by realizing how selfish they’ve been and becoming more thankful and obedient to their parents. The kids that do usually are kids who’ve learned through firm discipline that they really aren’t entitled to whatever they desire. Sorry, that’s just not the way the world is.

But adults in America have become this way too. Haven’t they? Particularly the generation born just after the war. But then again their children are even worse, for the most part. I’m talking about me here. I share the characteristics of my generation. We think the goal in life is our own personal happiness. Responsibilities and duties and laws and morals and people and traditions that get in the way of our personal fulfillment—those we feel free to ignore. And if you criticize or judge me it’s you that’s the bad person. Who are you to interfere with my happiness with your demands that I be polite and wear nice clothes to church and follow all these empty traditions?

So we have the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down the federal law restricting marriage to a man and a woman. This was a decision for fairness and equality, we’re told. If you’re above a certain age it’s likely you shake your head and change the channel whenever this kind of news comes on the tv.

If you’re younger, 60 or 50 maybe, definitely if you’re 40 or under, the likelihood increases that you feel like it was a fair ruling, or at least that it’s hard to say anything about it even if the Bible says it’s wrong. People can’t help how they feel, who they’re attracted to, right? And we no longer punish other types of sexual sin. Adulterers and people who have sex with people they’re not married to aren’t shunned or stoned.

But the same thing applies to us as to the whiny kid in the checkout line. Not everything we want is good. And treating people fairly is not the same, always, as treating them equally, because God made people different. He gave some people more gifts than others. He makes some people governors and the rest of the people the governed. He made some people male and some female.

It’s not good for kids if parents let them live on candy, fast food, and pop tarts just because that’s what they want. It’s not good if a kid is born a male but feels like a female, so his parents submit to the child’s feelings and pay for him to be mutilated and drugged to look like a woman (and this is happening now in America). And it’s not good for the government to give the name, privileges, and honor of marriage to gay unions and act as if they are the same as marriage between a man and a woman just because people want it to be that way.

After each day of creation, God saw that what He had made “was good.” And when He created man male and female, in the image of God, He blessed them this way: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1). Then after this final work of creation God saw “that it was very good,” everything He had made.

Read more…

The Log in the Eye of American Christians About Marriage, Sex, and Babies

June 28, 2013 2 comments

be fruitfulBelow is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article on Jonathan Ned Katz, an “LGBT historian” who argues that “heterosexuality” and “homosexuality” are categories invented in the 19th century.  Prior to that, the “traditional” view was to see sex as primarily for the purpose of procreation, rather than pleasure.  As a result, according Katz (or at least according to the Wikipedia article’s reading of Katz), the tendency was to see all sexual expression that was not aimed at procreation as deviant or immoral.  There was no need for terms like “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” because heterosexual sex apart from marriage and the possibility of creating human life was considered perverse or immoral.

However when sex came to be seen as a means primarily of receiving pleasure (towards the end of the 19th century), “normal” and “deviant” sexuality were redefined and the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” arose.

Also according to this reading of Katz it is inappropriate to try to read into forms of human sexuality in earlier eras of history our contemporary categories “hetero” and “homosexual”.

           The Invention of Heterosexuality

            “The Invention of Heterosexuality was first published as an essay in 1990 and then expanded into a larger book. In it, Katz traces the       development of heterosexual and homosexual and all the ideology, social and economic relations, gender expectations that were packed into it. He notes the radical change, in the late nineteenth century, from a sexual ethic of procreation to one based on erotic pleasure and sexual object choice. Noting the distinction that a procreation-based ethic condemns all non-procreative sex, categorizing sexual relations based primarily on this point. A gender-based sexual ethic is concerned with procreative sex on a secondary level, if at all.”

“Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, published in 1889, and then in English in 1892, marked the clear turning point from a procreation-based sexuality to a pleasure-based ethic which focused on gender to define the normal and the abnormal. Krafft-Ebing did not, however, make a clean break from the old procreative standards. In much of the discourse of the time, the heterosexual was still a deviant figure, since it signified a person unconcerned with the old sexual norms.”

“For a variety of economic and social reasons, Katz argues, during the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, this new norm became more firmly established and naturalized, marking out new gender and sexual norms, new social and family arrangements, and new deviants and perverts. One of the important consequences of this line of thought which Katz notes in “Homosexual” and “Heterosexual”: Questioning the Terms, is that we can only generalize sexual identities onto the past with a limited degree of accuracy: “So profound is the historically specific character of sexual behavior that only with the loosest accuracy can we speak of sodomy in the early colonies and ‘sodomy’ in present-day New York as ‘the same thing.’ In another example, to speak of ‘heterosexual behavior’ as occurring universally is to apply one term to a great variety of activities produced within a great variety of sexual and gender systems.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Ned_Katz    (emphases mine)

 

If this article is right in its reading of Katz, I think it puts its finger on the problem in the gay marriage debate.

Christianity’s problem with homosexual marriage is not that it’s wrong to have sexual pleasure with someone of the same sex but okay with someone of the opposite sex.  It’s that Christianity looks at sexual pleasure, the lifelong bond of marriage, and the procreation of children (when God wills) as all of a piece.  At least it did up until around 1930.

If Christians accept the premise that sex is primarily about personal satisfaction and pleasure (and most do), no wonder we have such difficulty sustaining our own marriages or being credible in the public square.  Of course sex is pleasurable, but if that’s it’s primary purpose it does seem a little ridiculous to say that two people of the same sex can’t engage in it.  Why not?  If they are able to have pleasure, and that’s the point of it, it’s unjust to refuse it to them.

Pleasure is a result of sex, but its “chief end” is children.  Reason teaches us this.  If sex only resulted in pleasure and not in children, both sex and sexual pleasure would cease to exist in short order.  Procreation of children has to be the chief purpose of sex; without that there would be no people of any “sexual orientation” to enjoy the pleasure of whatever sexual acts appeal to them.

But since Christians have essentially agreed that the overriding concern in sex and marriage is pleasure (i.e. falling in love, finding your soul mate, finding a person with physical characteristics as close as possible to your ideal)—we lose the argument.

Christians: marriage is not primarily about finding what you like and living happily ever after.  It’s a calling from God where you are united to another person as one flesh and are called to love them and serve them “for better or for worse”…a calling that God blesses with children (according to His will).  “Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them…” (Psalm 127)

This applies to us with regards to abortion, too, probably.  It’s not that we shouldn’t have said abortion was wrong.  But being anti-abortion is not yet being pro-life.  If Christians had lots of kids in their marriages they could show by example that having a child when it doesn’t seem like an ideal time is possible and that God can sustain and bless us through these children we fear will be an unbearable burden.

But that’s for another day.

Luther’s Handbook for Parenting and Spiritual Warfare

April 11, 2013 2 comments
Title page of the Large Catechism of Martin Lu...

Title page of the Large Catechism of Martin Luther, printed in Leipzig in 1560 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the Book of Concord study at St. Peter where we read the Lutheran Confessions.  A long time ago we started reading the Augsburg Confession and finally got through it.  Earlier this year we started Luther’s Large Catechism.

 

I have to say that teaching the Catechism this year has become one of the most rewarding things I’ve gotten to do in teaching.  The reason is that topical bible studies I’ve done are usually limited by my own areas of familiarity.  This year, preaching on the Small Catechism’s section on Baptism during Lent and doing short catechetical sessions with the Ladies’ Aid and with the catechumens and parents on Wednesdays, along with working through the Large Catechism, I’ve started to see things in the catechism I never saw before, or grasp them more fully.

 

One of the things that strikes me about the Large Catechism is the multitude of practical suggestions Luther drops constantly.  On the one hand he shows constantly how the parts of the catechism apply to daily spirituality, or “lived faith.”  I’ve read the Large Catechism before—particularly in my early twenties in college.  But a lot of the things Luther had to say about the life of prayer and of combat with the devil I just didn’t really grasp.  He means them quite literally.

 

At the same time, thus far in the Catechism (we’re doing the 3rd and maybe 4th commandments today), Luther constantly makes mention of how to teach the commandments to children.  Of course it should be obvious that he would do that, since a catechism is supposed to give the essentials of the faith in such a way that a parent can teach his children.

 

But today when the church is experiencing a crisis of losing members precisely because parents don’t know how to catechize their children, it’s kind of a slap upside the head.

 

People, in America anyway, like practical books on Christianity that tell you how to have a more meaningful life, or how the theology you learn helps practically in keeping your family together or in dealing with stress, anger, etc.

 

But the Evangelicals have generally done a better job at addressing that felt need, whereas Lutherans have struggled to teach “practical Christian living” while at the same time keeping the attention on the free forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake.

 

But Luther doesn’t have that problem.  After he talks about what a commandment means, he inevitably goes on to talking about how we should use the commandment in raising our children.  In raising them, not simply “teaching them the information they need to know about God.”  He doesn’t separate teaching children how to live from teaching them Christian doctrine.

 

Also Luther inevitably talks about the commandment’s relation to our battle with Satan—how the devil wars against the assurance of faith, and how the ten commandments point us toward very practical defense against the evil one.

Read more…

The Father is Well Pleased with the Cross of Jesus. Transfiguration/ Life Sunday Sermon

January 20, 2013 1 comment

P1000266Transfiguration Sunday [Life Sunday]

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. Matthew 17:1-9

January 20, 2013

“The Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross”

 

Jesus

 

[The Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross.

  1. 1.        We are pleased with our work and think it brings life.
  2. 2.       The Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross because it does bring life to you.]

 

“I was single, living with some friends, had a good job, and was having a good time. Having a baby just wasn’t in the cards. I told the father, and he said he had no intention of marrying me. He made his intentions quite clear right from the get-go. I had no desire to marry him either. I didn’t think a child was the right reason to get married. He said he’d pay for an abortion. Adoption was, quite truthfully, not an option I ever considered…At the time I thought that I could never give a child up, but now I look back and wonder how I could have done what I did. Giving it up would have been so much better. I didn’t really think of this as being a little person. It was a purely selfish decision. All I thought was, “What am I going to do now? This is a problem, and I have to take care of it.” I went to the doctor, and he suggested a clinic. It all happened so quickly. Looking back, I didn’t agonize. I had to make a decision; something had to be done.”

 

Those words come from a collection of stories told by women who have had an abortion, and you can find them at the top of the bulletin.  Further on the same woman explains how she has tried to deal with the regret and guilt that came to her later as she looked at the children God gave her in her marriage, wondering whether the child she aborted would have been a boy or a girl, whether the child is in heaven.  “I just don’t think about things that trouble me.  I push them down.” 

 

She goes on to describe what she thinks about God’s forgiveness: “I hear the pastor saying that it doesn’t matter how great our sins are, that God forgives us.  But I think, ‘But mine are really bad.’  I guess I believe that my sins are forgiven, but a lot of times I have a lot of trouble feeling that they are forgiven.”

 

There will be people hearing this sermon who have had an abortion or paid for a woman to have one.  Others have been involved in other sins against God’s gift of life.  They should hear at the outset of the sermon, now: God put away your sin on the cross of Jesus.  Don’t despair.  Listen to God’s beloved Son who says “Do not be afraid.”

 

Others know someone who has had an abortion.  And there are those who do not.  Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of legal abortion in the United States, but it has been done in this country for much longer than that. 

 

Regardless, the confession of this woman is not only her confession, and not only the confession of people who have had an abortion.  St. Peter could relate with it.  Like her, he also followed the wisdom of his flesh, called God’s work “bad” and tried to replace it with his own work.  Like her he also tried to gain life for himself in his own way, apart from God’s word.  He also fell into grave sin and would have despaired if Jesus had not restored him with His absolution.

 

 

What was true of Peter is true of all of us.  Apart from the Holy Spirit

  1. 1.        We are pleased with our work and think it brings life, but
  2. 2.       the Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross because it truly brings life to you.

Read more…

God Only Notices Those In the Depths

December 23, 2012 Leave a comment

5015-nativity-gentile-da-fabriano19. Behold how very richly God honors those who are despised of men, and that very gladly. Here you see that his eyes look into the depths of humility, as is written, “He sitteth above the cherubim” and looketh into the depths. Nor could the angels find princes or valiant men to whom to communicate the good news; but only unlearned laymen, the most humble people upon earth. Could they not have addressed the high priests, who it was supposed knew so much concerning God and the angels? No, God chose poor shepherds, who, though they were of low esteem in the sight of men, were in heaven regarded as worthy of such great grace and honor.

20. See how utterly God overthrows that which is lofty! And yet we rage and rant for nothing but this empty honor, as we had no honor to seek in heaven; we continually step out of God’s sight, so that he may not see us in the depths, into which he alone looks.

Luther, Sermon on Christmas Day (Luke 2:1-14) Wartburg Church Postil (1521-1522)

The Blessing of Abraham. Advent 2 Midweek.

December 17, 2012 1 comment

Jesu juvaabraham isaac and jacob

Advent 2 Wednesday Matins/Vespers

St. Peter Lutheran Church

Genesis 12:1-3, Galatians 3

December 12, 2012

“The Blessing of Abraham and his Seed”—taken from Stoeckhardt

(preached at matins)

 

In the name of Jesus.

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

God set the promise of the seed of the woman, the trampler of the serpent, before the eyes of Adam and Eve immediately after the fall into sin.  But not all human beings received the promise.  Cain and his offspring despised the promise, despised Christ.  They multiplied violence on the earth.

 

Also Seth’s seed rejected the promise and intermarried with the enemies of God.  So God destroyed the earth with the flood.  It was not because of their sins, but because of their unbelief—that they refused to believe the promise of the seed of the woman, Christ.  But God preserved believing Noah in the ark.  And Noah carried the promise with him into the new world—because it was true of him as well as those who died in the flood: “every thought of man’s heart is evil continually from his youth.” 

 

Noah further clarified the promise, enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  He praised “the God of Shem.”  He indicated that the seed of the woman would be born from Seth’s offspring, and that this seed would be God and man.

 

Finally, God called Abraham and gave the promise we read. 

 

The promise and blessing of Abraham is of great importance to Christians.  You cannot read the passages of the new testament that talk about our salvation, about how we are justified before God, without mention being made of Abraham.  So we need to know the promise to Abraham and His seed.

 

The blessing of Abraham and His seed:

  1. 1.       What is the blessing?
  2. 2.      Who is Abraham’s seed or offspring?

Read more…

O Muslims! Teach not your children to say: “We love death”!

December 4, 2012 1 comment

child preacher martyrdomhttp://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3644.htm  (I thought the video was on here when I published this post! Sorry.  )

O Zionists, we love death for the sake of Allah just as much as you love life for the sake of Satan.  We long for martyrdom for the sake of Allah just as much as you hate death, O enemies of Allah….I am just a small child, but nevertheless…If it were up to me, I would come to you [Palestinians] and I would fight alongside you in the battlefield. –Wee Egyptian TV preacher Ibrahim Adham 

I heard a Lutheran 6 year old preach a sermon in response to this video.  Unfortunately I didn’t record it.  But below is the transcript.

“O Turks, why do you protest so loudly that you love death?  That is not something to brag about.  By saying this you show that you are Satan’s children, since he is a liar and a murderer from the beginning.

nea-molech-sacrificeO Mohammedans, the true God does not love death.  Idols love death, especially the death of children.  The Jews who did not know their God sacrificed their children to Moloch, and you, O Mohammedans, are the spiritual children of those unfaithful Jews who offered up their children to a bloodthirsty god.

O Saracens, the true God loves life and blesses little children.  This God Whom you do not know said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child shall never enter it.’

O prisoners of the bloodthirsty idol Allah, the living and true God said, ‘Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain upon the just and the unjust.’

cranach law's torment (2)O you who have been ensnared by the false prophet Muhammad!  The true God became man and died on the cross–not because He loves death, but because He loves human beings who are made slaves through the fear of death.  O deceived ones!  You may love death, but you are still slaves to its fear.  That the dead will rise is certain, but whether God will raise you to paradise or the fires of hell you do not know.  O false ones!  Your conscience does not let you rest.  You run toward death and push your children ahead of you because you seek to atone for your sins with your own blood!

O you who submit to the devil’s yoke!  O you among the Mohammedans whose consciences are not yet completely seared!  Your heart condemns you that you have done evil deeds which God must surely bring to justice.  Let the pain of your conscience remain as a witness to the truth that Islam cannot deliver you from your sins.  Do not believe the false hope that death for Allah will result in certain salvation for you.  If Allah could take away sins he would have done so for you already.

O you whom Christians should pity, even while you rape their daughters, bear false witness against their husbands, and steal their property!  The only Muslims who have relief from the accusations of their consciences are those who have destroyed their consciences and have lost the ability to see that ablutions and prayers and special diets do not erase sin or give the conscience rest.  Or else they are those who are convinced that “martyrdom” is an assured path to salvation.  But when a Mohammedan’s body falls to the ground while waging jihad, his soul is carried away by angels not to paradise but to the laughing mouth of Satan, who says, “Well done, my faithful martyr!”

cranach_law_gospelO Moors, Turks, and Saracens!  Christian martyrs die willingly for Christ because they have already died with Him.  O idolaters!  Christians wear crosses not because we love death and execution, but because by the true God’s death on the cross, death’s power and fear is taken away.

O blind, most miserable Muslims, who intend to die for God but do not know Him!  The true God was crucified, dead, and buried, and rose again on the third day, and destroyed death.  O lost ones!  For Christians death is no longer death.  Christians have been born a second time.  They are sons of God, not His slaves.

nativity giotto 1311

O Mohammedans!  the true God was born a human being to live in the midst of His enemies.

O you lovers of violence! The true God died for His enemies.  Because all men were His enemies–Jews, Christians, Mohammedans.  But He had compassion on all the sons of Adam and gave Himself as a burnt offering to take away their sins.

O murderers of Christians, oppressors of the helpless!  You have blasphemed the true God and shed the blood of His saints! Yet He seeks your salvation.  His believers with whose blood you paint church walls seek your salvation.  They pray for you.  Even though you have made your children preachers of murder and worshippers of death, the living God suffered for you to rescue you from the eternal fire.

O Janissaries and Assasins, do not believe that God will receive you into Paradise when you embrace death for the sake of Allah and when you murder in the name of Allah.

O you who desire to be martyrs!  The true God only receives those who embrace His death in their place.  His true martyrs suffer or die not to earn something but because they have already been given everything in Jesus Christ crucified.

O Mohammedans, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and will come to judge the living and the dead.  This Jesus is the true God, and no one can know God unless they know Him.

crucifixion-1904 russian guyO Muslims!  If you would submit to God, you must know who He is.  He makes Himself known through the cross.  Through Jesus the true God is known–the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are not three gods, but one God; not one person but three.

O Mohammedans, do not think that you can philosophize with God.  Do not think that you will be able to present yourselves before God without shame for your sins on judgment day.   O Mohammedans! God does not judge like men.  He will not overlook sin or take a bribe, or accept suicide and murder as a ransom.  He will not accept your arguments that “God cannot have a son.”  God knows far better than you what He can and cannot do.

O blind-hearted Muslims, like all Adam’s race blind to God because of self-love!  The Trinity, the God you do not know, is love.  He loves you, O Arabs, O Mohammedans, and He seeks your blessing.  Wearing the scars from nails which pierced Him He loves you, even now.  Even though you have burned churches and blown His believers apart in the countries where they pay you tribute, Jesus the Lord God still loves you and wants you to live.  So he allows you to kill His people so that they may bear witness to you that He died to save the whole world.  He allows you to display your remarkable zeal for your idol and your false prophet by slaughtering Christians like lambs, spilling and spattering their blood on your streets and walls, thinking that in doing this you do God service.  He hears their blood crying out to Him, and yet He delays your punishment.  coptic-martyrs

Oh Mohammedans, listen to the true God.  You love death, but He loves you.  He wants you and your children to live.

‘So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.  I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in an dout and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice.  So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.” ‘ (John 10:7-12, 14-18)

‘At this time Jesus declared, ‘”I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealeed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.  All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Fahter, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”‘ (Matthew 11:25-30)”

In Dauides dyrre maegan

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

O joy of women in the host of heaven!  Winsomest maid through all the borders of the world, of whom the ocean dwellers ever have heard story!  Reveal to us that wonder which came upon thee from on high, how thou in childbirth didst conceive, yet knewest naught of human love after man’s kind.  Truly, we have never heard that such a thing befell in days of old as unto thee was granted in wondrous grace; neither may we look for it to happen in any time to come.  Verily, fair faith abode in thee, for that thou barest in thy bosom the Prince of glory, yet was thy radiant maidhood no wit stained.  As all the children of men sow in sorrow, so again they reap; they bring forth unto death.  The blessed damsel spake, holy Mary, rich in triumph:

“What is this wondering wherewith ye wonder, and this sorrowing that ye mourn with sorrow, Salem’s daughters and sons?  Eagerly ye ask how I did keep my chastity, my maidhood, and yet became the mother of the glorious Son of God.  To men that wonder is not known, but in David’s beloved kinsmaid Christ made known that all the sin of Eve is done away, the curse cast out, the lowlier sex lifted up.  Now hope is come that both for man and maid amid celestial joy of angels, with the Father of truth, bliss may abide forever.”

 

…Now is fulfilled which there the man of wisdom with eye beheld.  Thou art that wall-door; through thee the all-ruling Lord once journeyed out to earth; and even so, adorned with power, pure and chosen, Christ the Almighty found thee; even so the Prince of Angels, Lord of Life, locked thee after Him as with a key, all undefiled…We city dwellers pray that thou show forth thy Son, a comfort to the peoples.  Henceforward may we all have hope, since now we see the Babe upon thy breast…

Lo!  How wondrous change is wrought in the life of men, since the mild Creator of mankind received from mortal maid flesh undefiled; neither knew she any whit the love of man, nor by the seed of man came the Lord of triumph upon earth.  But more of craft was that than all the dwellers of  earth might comprehend, how wondrously the Glory of the skies, High Lord of heaven, through His mother’s womb wrought help to men.  And so the Saviour of the nations, the Lord of hosts, dealeth out each day in succor unto man forever His forgiveness. 

Cynewulf, Christ (I) (Exeter Book)

 

Repost: Kill Your Conscience, Kill Your Reason

November 6, 2012 2 comments
(Note: This really should be a topic for “That’s Too Catholic.”  So look for a “that’s too catholic” post about contraception (or the lack thereof.)

Once a man has killed his conscience in even a single point, natural reason brings forth nothing but error.

This is an article about contraception from a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod theological journal published in 1917. It’s interesting to see the certainty that the Missouri Synod possessed about contraception, even though now we “don’t have an official position.” I guess at that time, less than 100 years ago, all Christian Churches had an “official position” on contraception, whether they were Baptist or Episcopal or Lutheran, or Roman or Eastern. The position was, “it’s a sin.”

The quote above is also instructive. Why do we consistently fail to convince anyone that Christian opposition to homosexual “marriage” is something other than bigotry? Over time it’s easy to start to recognize that nature puts sexuality, conception, and marriage/fidelity together. But try to explain this very simple moral point in a college setting, and you’ll be blacklisted, laughed out of the room, ostracized. Why are otherwise very intelligent people so unable to follow a very simple train of thought with regard to moral issues? Because once you’ve martyred your conscience in regard to one thing, you lose the ability to reason. I suppose this is connected to Paul’s argument, that God gave people over to a “reprobate mind” that is no longer able to perceive basic things like, “An image made to look like a snake or a dragon” can’t be the true God.

It explains very well why otherwise intelligent people show themselves so incapable of making correct judgments about facts like the one above. Natural reason tells you that the true God can’t be a reptile or a bird, since He is omnipotent and eternal. But once we reject the light of simple moral truths which even the pagans understand, we get to where we are unable to reason morally. That’ s where we are now.

Lehre und Wehre (1917), p. 138

More dangerous still than the shameless “birth control” movement is the slogan preached for years in so many American newspapers: “Fewer children and better ones.” The Congregationalist Advance shows in a recent lead article the deception on which this hypocritical proposition of the eugenicists is based.

“The families where there are fewer children have on them the burden of proof. Are there better children in those homes where there are fewer? The contrary is the experience of many homes. The one child is a petted and spoiled child. The men and women who make their mark in the world have largely come out of large families. The reasons are partly apparent. The child who has grown up in a large family has already met a considerable number of life’s social problems and adjusted himself to them. In the large family there must be give and take. There must be adjustment and division and compromise. There must be the constant measuring of one’s own desire against another’s right. A child so reared has met the world, and settled some of its essential problems before he leaves the home.”

Not only is restricting the number of children according to the principle “fewer children, but better” immoral and godless; it is untenable even when judged according to reason alone. How unreasonably the case is made in favor of child-impoverished families is evident from a statement in the Brooklyn Union Standard from 1908, which recently came into our hands again. It was argued at the time that, since the era of protracted warfare is behind us, homeland defense is no longer a contemporary problem. For that reason we can safely limit the number of children! We let the words follow:

“It is now recognized in this day of universal education that it is better to raise three children, so their minds shall be reasonably equipped for the battle of life, and their bodies strong, so as to withstand the hardships of adversity, than to bring five children to the age of maturity in a condition which foretells their filling the ranks of the lower strata of society. With frequent and protracted wars a thing of the past, with the questions of national defense less pressing than ever before, with the conquering of plagues, which in other centuries claimed their thousands yearly, the common welfare does not demand families with eight or ten children, particularly if their parents are poor.”

Is it necessary to repeat more of this today? [At the time this was written the US had recently entered the first world war, by far the most bloody conflict the world had ever seen up until that point.] Even the first sentence with its reference to the sinking down of children into the lower strata of society when their number in the family rises above five is complete nonsense and goes against daily experience.

Once a man has killed his conscience in even a single point, natural reason brings forth nothing but error. G.

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