Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brother Dave resting after angioplasty

I think that  some of the readers of this blog may know my oldest brother, Dave Teigen.  Dave underwent angioplasty surgery this afternoon and is recovering nicely.  He began to suffer a heart attack yesterday afternoon but was promptly treated in the initial stages.  He was first driven to St. Joseph's Hospital in Brainerd and then evacuated by helicopter to Abbott in Minneapolis

It has been a challenging ordeal for all of us.  We are all grateful for the prayers of the  friends of the Teigen family and the skill of the medical practitioners.  Thanks be to God for his healing mercy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The excommunication of a nun

Nicholas Kristof writes a disturbing account of a nun who has been excommunicated. Mr. Kristof says:  When a hierarchy of mostly aging men pounce on and excommunicate a revered nun who was merely trying to save a mother’s life, the church seems to me almost as out of touch as it was in the cruel and debauched days of the Borgias in the Renaissance.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Philosophers and good government - a concern for Lutherans

Many Lutherans are thinking seriously about the role of government these days.  David Brooks is always a good read. I think that people who read this blog will find the discussion to be of interest.

In the same context, I would like to recommend a book which I have recently acquired.  The cite is:  Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty, A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, New York:  Oxford University Press, 2009.   This work is a part of The Oxford History of the United States.

My first read in this award-winning work is about religion in the early days of the Republic.  Interesting stuff.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

'The treasure lies yet in one pile...'

16. But in addition to what is thus preached, something else is needed; for even though I hear the preaching, I do not at once believe. Therefore, God adds his Holy Spirit, who impresses this preaching upon the heart, so that it abides there and lives. It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine he will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came, when it felt none of the goodness, love, or faithfulness of God, but only his wrath and disfavor. Since the Holy Spirit has impressed upon the heart that God is kind and gracious toward it, it believes that God can no more be angry, and grows so happy and so bold that, for God's sake, it performs and suffers everything possible to perform and to suffer.

text from a sermon on Pentecost by Martin Luther

Pentecost, Taddeo Gaddi,  1335-40, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Saturday, May 22, 2010

'Hail Thee, Festival Day' -Ralph Vaughan Williams

see ELH #398

'O Day Full of Grace'

Heinrich Schutz - 'Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott'


Pentecost, Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11, Museo deli'Opera del Duomo, Siena

The Collect

God which as upon this day has taught the hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit:  Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort [strength]; through the merits of Christ Jesu  our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end.

The Epistle  [Acts 2

For Luther's consideration of this text, please follow the link

The Gospel  [John 14

Follow the link to a sermon by Martin Luther on a part of this text.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Looking at church history . . .

If you are interested in how history, particularly church history, is being discussed you might find this discussion to be of interest.

The topic is the legacy of CFW Walther and the Martin Stephan matter.  Read it and learn about the history and varying interpretations of the history.

Since I was a participant in the discussion, I will make no further comments but let the reader decide for herself.

Interesting historical video re 1926 Concordia Seminary dedication

Concordia Seminary-St. Louis has made available an interesting silent movie from the 1926 dedication of its new campus.  Old Pfotenhauer, Dean Fritz, and even Franz Pieper are seen.  As  a member of an ELS congregation I was fascinated to see old George Gullixson who was representing the Norwegian Synod.  There is a building on the Bethany campus named in honor of old Gullixson whose grandson, Ted, is the current editor of The Lutheran Sentinel.

Follow the link to 'A Prayer for Concordia' from May 14, 2010.

how about some Campra?

how about a little Cavalli?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

some more good Bach

some Bach that I have never heard before

Text for the opening chorus of Bach's Ascension Oratorio

Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen,
Preiset ihn in seinen Ehren,
Rühmet ihn in seiner Pracht;

Laud to God in all his kingdoms,
Praise to him in all his honors,
In his splendor tell his fame;

Sucht sein Lob recht zu vergleichen,
Wenn ihr mit gesamten Chören
Ihm ein Lied zu Ehren macht!

Strive his glory's due to honor
When ye with assembled choirs
Make a song to praise his name!

Bach on the Ascension

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Table of Duties - Citizens

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.  Matthew 22:21

Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.  Render therefore to all their due taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.  Romans 13:5-7

I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kinds and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.  1 Timothy 2:1-3

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.  Titus 3:1

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good  1 Peter 2:13-14

from Luther's Small Catechism  [source:  Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, p. 37]

wonderful Bach organ piece

Bach Violin Concerto cont'd

Perlman and Stern doing Bach

Cool Pachelbel-(from Italy)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Abortion in the news

Michael D. Shear writes in The Washington Post about the issue of abortion in the selection of the new Supreme Court nominee.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Arizona and the Lutheran Conscience

A regular reader of this blog presents a link to a thoughtful essay on the Arizona problem.  This link is seen  as an appropriate follow-up to the  CFW Walther posts recently made on this blog.

The source of this essay is Concordia Seminary-St. Louis.

Dark Bargain

A good read on the subject of the history of the Constitution and slavery is:  Lawrence Goldstone, Dark Bargain   Slavery, Profits, and the Struggle for the Constitution, New York:  Walker & Company, 2005.

Old Walther's views on slavery, although surprising to this modern reader, were typical of his times.  Author Goldstone notes that "Southerners argued that divine revelation showed inequality to the order of the universe.  The Scriptures, they said, demonstrated that 'an inferior race must live under the domination of the superior' (Elkins, Slavery, p. 36)."

The cite for the Elkins book is as follows:  Elkins, Stanley.  Slavery:  A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life.   Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lutherans and slavery - #7 concluding remarks

Well, that was an interesting exercise on a Friday evening.   I didn't expect old Walther to have read much of Thomas Jefferson but he almost sounded Jeffersonian when he started in on the rights of the people.   I knew that he would expound on Scripture but the rights of citizens?  I didn't expect that.  I wasn't surprised that Walther's anti-abolitionism came through.   

What are some of the conclusions for me?   I believe, as a Lutheran and a modern American, that the Gospel does not abrogate the civil law.  I believe, as a modern American and a Lutheran, that the law of love and justice demands that all people enjoy equal civil liberties and rights.   I believe that Christ was not the kind of messiah who would free his people from earthly oppression.  I believe that the Gospel does not have the purpose of doing away with earthly law.

Lutherans and slavery - #6

Yes, it is a matter of great importance, says Walther.  "This must, therefore, be a matter of consequence and great importance, on which hinges God's honor and man's salvation. And so it is!  For the Christian this is not merely a neutral, political issue.  The question is not:  Is it advantageous for a state, a country, a people to lawfully abolish slavery?   The question is:  Does the law of love and justice demand that all people enjoy equal civil liberties and rights; is it right or wrong to use the existing civil law which enables one to exercise rights over another person;  it is right or wrong to acknowledge and accept such a law?

"The question is whether the old canon - Evangelium non abolet politias - the Gospel does not remove a political law - is a lie, and whether the Gospel demands civil equality.  The question is whether Christian freedom, that is the freedom we received from Christ, is a physical, civil one; whether Christ was the kind of messiah expected by the Jews, who would free his people from earthly oppression; whether the Gospel contains elements of rebelling which seek to do away with worldly law.  "

I now skip on to Walther's final conclusion in this section.  "May this suffice as proof that slavery is not against Christian morals. "

Lutherans slavery - #5

I admit that I don't get the point that Walther has just made.    As though he anticipated that a reader might not get his point, Walther cites the example of Matthew 19:3-9 in which Christ has said that divorce is to be allowed because of the hardness of hearts of the people involved.  

"Does," Walther asks, "the question of master-slave therefore also belong to the category which during Old Testament times were permitted, according to worldly law, but according to moral law and conscience were sinful and therefore punishable by God?"

Walther's main argument is that Scripture does not condemn slavery.  He cites several examples to buttress his contention.

Having done his persuasive best, Walther states, patiently, that "Truly, we cannot understand how a believing Christian can read this and still agree with the humanists of our times that slavery and serfdom are unjust.  We assert that anyone who still has regard for God's word will be pierced by these words into his very heart.  Anyone dreaming this modern world's dream of abolition, should perceive these words as God's slaps, waking him from his dream.  For here the apostle, in the Holy Spirit, explains in plain words that all he had said before, concerning the slave's conduct toward his master, should be taught by every preacher of the Gospel; and that he who teaches otherwise in is in the dark and knows nothing, no matter how brilliant he considers himself.  Such a  man, therefore, is to be avoided by the believing Christian!"

This is a serious point in the discussion, isn't it?

Lutherans and slavery - #4

Walther states that he doesn't know of a better definition of the word "slavery" than that of Melanchthon, the magister germaniae.  Melanchthon in 1556 said that 'Civil slavery, which is approved by God (as Joseph and Onesiumus were slaves), is the lawful removal of the ability of ownership, the freedom to choose one's vocation or employment, and to move from one place to another.'

Walther explores a number of scriptural passages to further reinforce his view of slavery.  His conclusion is clear:  "From all this we can conclude that according to Holy Scripture - The Old Testament, God did not initially institute slavery or servitude as he did the state of matrimony or civil authority.  Neither did He institute absolute monarchy, the class of the poor or any other social burden in life.  Rather He deemed them punishment for sin itself and considered them as a 'duty-relationship' based on the fourth commandment.  Further, he declared slaves to be the indisputable property of their master in the tenth commandment, in societies where such a relationship is lawful, just as He confirmed all other worldly and civil freedoms, burdens, rights, duties, ownership, etc."

But Walther won't allow himself to be boxed in.  He says:  "We willingly agree, however, that if the Old Testament alone spoke of such slavery, there would still be room for the idea that the morality of such a relationship has not been proven beyond all doubts.  The people of Israel received from God, through Moses, their civil laws.  These civil laws, though, could not punish all that which is punished by 'moral law,' the law of the eternal will of God Himself.  Therefore, because of the wickedness of man a lot could not beheld to be moral, but things were allowed which were directly in opposition to the 'moral law' in order to maintain civil peace, based on the old axiom:  Aliud jus poli, aliud jus so i, a different law for heaven, a different law for the earth.'  One might think that this relationship between master and slave could fall into this latter category."

Lutherans and slavery - #3

Old Walther's views on slavery are available for reading in a translation by Erika Bullmann Flores from the old Missouri Synod publication Lehre und Wehre.

Old Walther was worried about humanism.   He defined humanism "as the belief in a human ideal, a belief that man within himself has the ability to develop into a state of completeness and achieve happiness."

Walther didn't want to talk about slavery "as it relates to political issues, for we have nothing to do with that, but as it related to Christian-religious morals."

Walther said that emancipation is a government issue, but it is not a theological issue.  The issue is "whether slavery itself, that is, the relationship between slave and master, is a sin; or does sin adhere to this relationship merely in concreto, as all relationships between sinful men, for instance between poor and rich, seller and buyer.  Is therefore slavery a sin which must be unconditionally opposed, or should Christians concentrate on doing away with the connected sinfulness, so that the relationship between slave and master is according to God's will and order, according to the laws of justice, fairness and love?"

And suddenly Walther shows his hand.  "We therefore hold that abolitionism, which deems slavery a sin and therefore considers every slave holder a criminal and strives for its eradication, is the result of unbelief in its development of nationalism, deistic philanthropy, pantheism, materialism, and atheism.  It is a brother of modern socialism, Jacobinism and communism.  Together with the emancipation of women it is the rehabilitation of the flesh."

And old Walther still isn't done.  He continues:  "As proof of this blood-relationship it suffices to point only to its history, but also to the close union between abolition-minded representatives of Christianity and the abolitionist tendencies of anti-Christians and the radical revolutionaries in church, state, and home."

Well, there's more, but I think that old Walther has made his point.  He proceeds to consider the definition of slavery.  Proceed to #4 in this series.

Lutherans and slavery - #2

Scholar L. De Ane Lagerquist observes that there was no universal Lutheran position on the question of slavery.  My ethnic group, the Norwegians, lived far away from slave-holding areas. Walther and the Germans were in Missouri a slave-holding region prior to the Civil War.

 Both the Norwegians and the Missouri Synod Lutherans were confessional in their approach to theology and they did, according to Lagerquist, have some debates on the subject.

Was slavery a sin and thus an evil?  Or was slavery merely an evil and thus not a sin?

I want to buy Lagerquist's book.  L. De Ane Lagerquist, The Lutherans, copyright. 1999.

Lutherans and slavery

I think that a consideration of the historical issue of slavery is relevant for several reasons.  Today marks the anniversary of the death of the great Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod theologian C.F.W. Walther.  Walther has been very much extolled for his contributions to the development of the faith by Lutherans of varying ethnic traditions.  I come from the Norwegian branch of the faith and Walther has always been praised particularly for his work on the distinction between law and gospel.

Walther was born in Germany and  served out his career in Missouri a slave holding state.  I think that it would be interesting to see what Walther and the Lutherans of his day had to say, if anything,  about slavery.  Clearly slavery was the dominant national problem of the Civil War era and beyond.  Did the Lutheran theologians have anything to say about all of this?

Does the Lutheran teaching of the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms have anything to do with this issue of slavery?

CooolJazz does Bach

this Andante from a Mozart piano concerto has been viewed by more than seven million people on YouTube

this part of Mozart's Requiem has been viewed by more than five million people on YouTube

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Judge not the Preacher for He is thy Judge

Judge not the preacher; for He is thy Judge:
If thou dislike him, thou conceiv'st him not.
God calleth preaching folly.  Do not grudge
To pick out treasures from an earthen pot.
The worst speak something good:  if all want sense,
God takes a text, and preacheth patience.

George Herbert 1593-1632

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another view of the Word Alone convention

Recently I offered my perspective on the recent Word Alone Conference held in Golden Valley.  For another perspective go to the link

The President's dramatic prayer was seen as one of the memorable events of the convention.

There seems to be no end to the Roman Catholic Abuse Scandal

Norman is apparently mixed up on his Sundays

Hi, Norman.

Just writing to say that you're still off on your Sundays in the Easter Season. 

Yesterday was Cantate Sunday, not Rogate. 

Rogate is next Sunday.  Some Lectionaries list next Sunday as The Fifth Sunday AFTER Easter.  Others list it as The Sixth Sunday IN or OF Easter.  Either way, it's Rogate Sunday.