Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter at King of Grace

Our church looked particularly beautiful on Easter morning. I meant to take photos, but wasn't able to get up front after the service before members began to take their particular flowers home. Good thing Jack did! He sent them to Norman and Norman posted them. Thanks guys!

Norman's Demesne: Easter at King of Grace

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Issues, Etc. cancellation

Issues, Etc., the popular and nationally broadcast was suddenly and without any warning removed from the air and its hosts were fired. The official statement by the LCMS-owned radio station, KFUO, explains virtually nothing:

For programmatic and business reasons, the decision was made this week to discontinue the "Issues, Etc." program on KFUO-AM. We look forward to bringing you new programming in this time slot in the near future. Also, we thank "Issues" host Rev. Todd Wilken and producer Mr. Jeff Schwarz for their years of service on behalf of the station.

Lutherans everywhere are saddened at the loss of a venue which could bring people of faith together across the country for an hour or two. They are also amazed at the cold, callous and non-sensical nature of the cancellation. In the radio world, sudden cancellations are hardly unusual, but in the Lutheran world I guess we expected a bit more from the powers that be. The show was their MOST LISTENED TO PROGRAM, with plenty of sponsors.

The show archives are back up and will be available for who knows how long. Pastor Todd Wilken has sent show listeners a message of thanks for the prayers and gifts of cash to him and his producer, who are suddenly out of work:

My thanks to everyone who has been so generous and supportive. Thank you for demonstrating such brotherly concern toward me, Jeff and our families. We are encouraged by everyone's Christian compassion and friendship.

Everyone, go to church. Eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus. Celebrate His death for us. Await His resurrection. It's Holy Week - the best week of the year.

Wir sind alle Bettler,


If you would like to sign a petition, go here. If you would like to offer financial assistance to Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz as they make this difficult and sudden transistion, The Wittenberg Trail is organizing a drive to offer financial support. They have set up a secure PayPal account. Follow the directions at the Wittenberg Trail website(free membership may be required) and click on the "Donate" button on the right side of the screen. Visit The Wittenberg Trail at:

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Tithe or you will be cursed!

In the middle of a CBS Sunday Morning piece, To Tithe or Not to Tithe, on churches which demand or strongly encourage a tithe from their congregants, a small gem of scriptural reason was featured:

"I'm somewhat suspicious of people who want to turn giving ten percent into virtually the only law that applies to people who are under a covenant of grace," says Hudnut-Beumler, "where God saves freely, not for ten percent down."

He says he's reminded of Martin Luther, father of the Protestant movement, who broke away from the Catholic church because it was selling indulgences: Promises of a quicker road to heaven in exchange for cash.

"Stripped down to its basics," he says, "I don't think it's different than indulgences. What we see today, though, is a return to 'this-for-that religion,' give God this and God will give you that."

Words of wisdom from a Lutheran? I couldn't find any reference to him being raised Lutheran (except for being raised in Michigan). James Hudnut-Beumler is dean of the divinity school at Vanderbilt University.

Another gem, of sorts, from a woman who strongly believes in tithing: "It makes me feel good."

Here is a bit of considered opinion on tithing, which (of course) is not a bad practice, but it is not mandated to Christians, by a Lutheran theologian:

It is always a horrible abuse of the Word of God - and a legalistic binding of consciences - to try to use the law to motivate and "drive" Christians to fruits of faith, rather than seeking to empower and inspire them through the gospel. Such "law-forced" good works are nothing but the rotten fruit of grudging obedience or pharisaic pride. The tithe is not a club with which we are to beat God's people over the head. It is merely one guide with which we can measure our gifts over against the gifts which God's Old Testament people brought him.

"God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).