Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nun bitten wir den Heilegen Geist - 2012

We have had friends and family move into the life eternal in recent months.  That's a condition of life on this earth.   This past Sunday we sang this hymn of Luther and it reminded me of these events and of the faith of these believers.

We now implore God the Holy Ghost
For the true faith, which we need the most,
That in our last moments  He may befriend us
And as home-ward we journey, attend us.
Lord, have mercy!

Source:  Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #34

Monday, September 26, 2011

What is the 'Ministerial Exception'?

The Pew Forum has a current story about the question of ministers in the workplace.  Follow the link http://pewforum.org/Church-State-Law/The-Supreme-Court-Takes-Up-Church-Employment-Disputes-and-the-“Ministerial-Exception”.aspx

Is America A Christian Nation?

"It’s a common refrain among evangelicals: America is a Christian nation, founded for Christians, by Christians, and on Christian principles. Is this true?
"The short answer is no, or at least not in the way people like David Barton claim. But we should never forget that religion permeated public life in early America in a way that it just doesn’t today.
"Let’s let John Fea, a historian at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, explain:
Those who insist that America was founded as a Christian nation run roughshod over the historical record. They use the words of the Founding Fathers to support Republican jeremiads on the moral decay of American life. If only this country could return to its Christian roots, they say nostalgically, everything would be okay.

And how do they demonstrate that America was founded as a Christian nation? By selectively choosing texts from the writings of the Founders without any effort to explore them in the context of the 18th-century world in which they were written. Just because John Adams and George Washington quoted from the Bible or made reference to God does not mean that they were trying to construct a Christian nation. Granted, the Founding Fathers were the products of a Christian culture, but most of them were never comfortable with the beliefs that defined this culture. Very few of them would qualify for membership in today's evangelical churches….
But before we go too far in condemning the Christian Right on this front, let's remember that the secular left is not immune to errors of historical thinking. While evangelicals misinterpret the references to God in the words of the Founding Fathers, their critics simply have no idea what to make of those same quotations. Since they can't fathom why people today would make religious faith an essential part of their everyday lives, they have little interest in making sense of past worlds where such beliefs were important.
"Interestingly enough, Googling “Is America a Christian nation?” returns David Barton’s Wallbuilders as the top hit, followed by critical articles by Richard Albert and John Fea’s 2007 article for HNN."

I found this article on the HNN site. 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

On running for public office

I am a candidate for public office.  I am running for a city council seat in Hopkins MN.  I am also a Lutheran and I want to acknowledge the basis for being involved in civic matters.   Article XVI of the Augsburg Confession confesses:   "Of civil affairs we teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to hold civil office, to sit as judges, to determine matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to own property, to make an oath when required by a judge, to marry and to be given in marriage."

The faith "does not destroy the State or the family, but very much requires their preservation as the ordinances of God, and that charity be practiced in them."

[Source:  Augsburg Confession, 1530,  p. 11 Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary]

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Leadership Lesson from 1 Kings

Today's Old Testament reading in my iPad lectionary reveals a good lesson in group leadership. Read 1 Kings 12:1-20 to see what it is all about.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leyden Cobbler

Recently Lutheran bloggers have been posting anecdotes about shoes and shoe makers which would illustrate a truth or two about Lutheran theology.  In that spirit, I offer this story about the Leyden Cobbler.

A cobbler of Leyden was in the habit of attending the public disputations of the university, and when asked whether he understood Latin, replies, "No, but I know who is wrong in the argument, by seeing who gets angry first."

The  source of  this anecdote is the 19th century American theologian, Samuel Schmucker.   Schmucker is an interesting character in the history of American Lutheranism.  [Schmucker. in my opionion, has been very much maligned by the TLs.]   Schmucker adds this explanation to his storySamuel :  "Christian truth has often been defended in a very unChristian way, and doubtless more depends on the natural temper and the manners of the disputants, as well as the extent to which divine grace enables them to subdue their passions."

Source:  Samuel S. Schmucker    American Lutheranism Vindicated, Baltimore:  T. Newton Kurtz, 1856.  [this book is available from iTunes book store]

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Confession of George, the Margrave of Brandenburg - "I Am a Lutheran"

"I was not baptized in the name of Luther, he is not my God and Savior.  I do not believe in him, and am not saved by him;  and therefore, in this sense I am no Lutheran.  But if I be asked, whether with my heart and lips I profess the doctrines which God restored to light through the instrumentality of his blessed servant, Dr. Luther, I neither hesitate nor am ashamed to call myself a Lutheran.  In this sense I am, and as long as I live, will remain a Lutheran."

Amen, and amen to this.

[Source:  Koercher's Vertheidigung & c., pl 66, 68    in Samuel S. Schmucker, D.D., The American Lutheran Church   Historically, Doctrinally, and Practically Delineated in Several Occasional Discourses, fifth edition, Philadelphia:  E.W. Miller. 1852   p. 44]

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm back again, after a two and a half month hiatus

I have decided to resume this blog once more.  I am truly grateful for people who have taken the time to respond to my closure notice and for the encouragement to continue on.

While I have been away, I have continued to study my Civil War history and the relationship of religion to the cause.  I have continued to study, specifically, the questions about the relationship between CFW Walther and the Norwegians.  I am Norwegian.

I am just finishing a book on my iPad and I recommend it highly:  David S. Reynolds, Mightier Than the Sword   Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Battle for America.  This book deals with Harriett Beecher's monumental work and it's impact, then and now, on American history and culture.    Walther, of course, was adamant in his hatred and contempt for abolitionism and looked at the movement as a greater threat than slavery itself.

This of course could get me into trouble.  I got into trouble in writing for this blog from a source that I will label as the TLs.   I had written an entry in April in which I asked if CFW Walther was a racist.  I answered my own question by stating that Walther was not a racist but the institution of slavery was racist.

I was perhaps careless about the headline.  I should have anticipated, but did not, the reaction from the TLs.

There are at least two ways of dealing with history going on here.   One approach is to analyze and look at historical issues and questions.   The effort and the reward is all in the examination.

The other approach here is that of advocacy.  One holds a certain belief, or, in this case, a series of beliefs and understandings and looks for affirmation of these beliefs.  When the affirmation is not present, or when the affirmation seems to be under attack, there is a push back.

That's what happened here.  There was a push back and I felt it best for me, personally, to take a pause.

I did not intend to slander CFW Walther or his memory.  I do not think that Walther or his reputation has suffered any damage because of my blogging.  I do not believe that I have slandered the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

There was more but the rest need not be discussed in public.

I am back and I hope that people will read and respond as they have in the past.

Thank you for your continuing interest.

Monday, June 6, 2011

This blog is now closed

To avoid offense, this blog is now discontinued.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday in Easter Week- Rolf Schey

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

This is the day of the funeral of my beloved uncle, Rolf Schey, who passed away just 19 days after the death of his dear wife, my godmother, Helga.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Collect for Easter

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen.


'Christ ist erstanden'

BWV 627

Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

Saturday, April 23, 2011


more Tallis

music of Thomas Tallis

Ave Verum Corpus

Sicut Cervus

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of Heaven and Earth:  Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'You Can't Be Serious!'

The Missouri Synod in Minnesota is seriously considering closing the University of Minnesota Lutheran Church. TBH and I visited there when we moved back to Minnesota and considered becoming members there. This congregation is well-respected by Lutherans throughout the area.

Incredible. Just incredible.

Monday, April 18, 2011

'Friends Who Pray Together......'

The current issue of The Wilson Quarterly has arrived. My eye was caught by a summary of an article from the December 2010 American Sociological Review by Chaeyon Lim and Robert D. Putnam titled "Religion, Social Networks, and Life Satisfaction."

The subject of the article is that religion makes people happy.  The researchers reports that "nearly 30 percent of the people who attend religious services report extreme happiness with their lives, compared with less than 20 percent of those who steer clear of religious institutions."

Why?  The researchers' conclusion is that "Churchgoers are happier because of the friends they make in the pews."

"People who have close friends from their congregations are more likely to be happy than those who have the same number of close friends through nonreligious affiliations."

What about faith and belief in God?  "Any evidence that  belief in God by itself leads to happiness is weak and inconsistent."

"What really seems to make people happy is the sense of belonging that comes from a combination of religious identity and religious friends."

The researchers conclude that "it is neither faith nor communities, per se, that are important, but communities of faith.  For life satisfaction, praying together seems to be better than either bowling together or praying alone."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

'Der Lieben Sonne Licht und Pracht'-music in memory of Helga Schey

The Norwegian hymn 'Jeg gaar if Fare, hvor jeg gaar' [I Walk in Danger All the Way] was chosen by Helga for her funeral.  See The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #252.  I think that Helga would have liked this video.

'O God Our Help in Ages Past'`from Helga's funeral

See Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #160

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More music in memory of Helga Schey

.  The hymn 'Ein Lammelein geht und tragt die Schuld' may be found in The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #331.

'Christus, der ist mein leben'

Aunt Helga was very familiar with this fine Lutheran hymn. 'For Me To Live Is Jesus' is to be found in The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #473.

What God Ordains Is Always Good -Pachelbel

The hymn 'Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan' was well know by Aunt Helga.  See The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #519 for the text.

Music in memory of my godmother

A familiar Norwegian Lutheran funeral hymn, 'I Know of a Sleep in Jesus Name,'  is also sung to this melody.  See The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #525.

My godmother Helga Schey has passed away-Blessed be her memory

Helga Marie Schey
May 1st, 1920 - April 9th, 2011
1:00PM to 2:00PM on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at Saude Lutheran Church 
2:00PM at Saude Lutheran Church on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 

Helga Marie Schey age 90 of Brooklyn Park, MN, formerly of Saude died Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Brooklyn Park.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, 2011, at the Saude Lutheran Church, rural Lawler, with Pastor Bruce Larson officiating. Interment will be in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be one hour prior to the service Tuesday at the church.

Helga was born May 1, 1920, in Gresham, Wisconsin, the daughter of Anna Brue and Rev. Helge M. Tjernagel. Helga grew up in the parishes of Gresham, Wisconsin and Saude, Iowa, where her mother died in 1924, and her father in 1940. Her aunt, Bertha Tjernagel, cared for the family after her mother's death.

She attended Bethany Lutheran High School in Mankato, taught piano in St. Peter, Minnesota, and moved to Chicago, where she attended business school. While playing the organ at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Chicago she met Rolf who was the choir director, and they married June 12, 1948. They made their home and raised six children on the Fox River near Chicago.

Helga was a pianist as well as wonderful wife and mother, renowned for her hospitality, her empathy and love for others, her intelligence, her faith, musical talent and unfailing wit.

Survivor include her husband of 62 years, Rolf Schey; sister, Bea Tjernagel; six children; Gregg Schey, Aline (Larry) Tyler, Inez (John) Bergquist , Stephen Schey, Rev. Bernard (Inge) Schey, Constance Schey; six grandsons, Timothy (Karalynn) Tyler, Ben Tyler, David Tyler; Jim (Krista) Bergquist, Steve Bergquist; and Bjorn Schey. Six great grandchildren; Anna and Owen Tyler; and Kaylynn, Gavin, Lilian and James Bergquist.

She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Neelak, Olivia, Rolf, Lars, Elna, and Borghild.
Saude Lutheran Cemetery
2940 Stevens Trail
Lawler, IA 52154

[this obituary from  Hugeback and Chenoweth]

A Memorial Service will be held at 12 noon on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at King of Grace Lutheran Church in Golden Valley MN.   

Sunday, April 3, 2011

'Thieves in the Temple'

I have been taking advantage of Border's Books bankruptcy sale.  I recently bought a pile of books at 90% off retail.  One of these titles is G. Jeffrey MacDonald's   'Thieves in the Temple  The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul.'

MacDonald writes about the absorption of the values of the American consumption community  into religion.  This is not a new observation, certainly.  The book is a good read.

I had to remove some books from my shelf to make room for these new acquisitions.  I gave my copies of  The Lutheran Study Bible (C) and (A) and Walther's Law and Gospel to a pastor that I know. I realized that I would probably never read these books again and they were taking up valuable shelf space

This pastor's library had taken a hit when  the  church building suffered a roof collapse during the winter hence the recycling.

Studying the Bible in Minnesota

Monday, March 28, 2011

Part 1 Bach St. Matthew Passion

Steady progress at Heritage

The sanctuary floor is newly repaired, caulked, and epoxy sealed. The
walls have been repaired and painted. New carpet for the center aisle
and chancel platform was being installed on Saturday. The sanctuary is
looking better than ever.

We will continue to use the old entry as our main point of entry, and
the doors on the altar end of the sanctuary will remain the main
entry/exit for the sanctuary. The new (north) entry will be open and
available, but there is no access to coat room or restrooms.

[source:  Pastor Anderson]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

one more time, BWV 639

music for Lent 1 -'Ich ruf zu dir'

Lent 1

Pastor Anderson reports that regular services at Heritage are scheduled at 8:00 and 10:30 AM.  Adult Bible class will meet at 9:15.  We are studying the Lutheran Confessions at Heritage.

Pastor Anderson offers this preview of tomorrow's sermon.

"The sermon for the First Sunday in Lent will be based on the Gospel
lesson, Matthew 4:1-11, the wilderness temptation of Christ. The story
of Christ's temptation in the wilderness is the traditional Gospel for
the first Sunday in Lent. It teaches us that Christ's suffered for us
throughout his ministry- not just the last day when he was arrested,
brutally treated, and crucified. Satan attacked Jesus continuously in
many ways throughout his ministry. Satan, in his evil, twisted, genius,
thought he could tempt and ruin the Son of God just as he had tempted
and ruined the first man of God- Adam. But Christ Jesus demonstrated
that he was wiser than Satan, alert to his wicked tricks and
temptations, and too strong to stumble and fall into sin. Yet in his
human nature, Jesus truly felt and suffered these attacks, so that he
truly knows what it is like to be tempted and tormented by Satan.
Therefore the Scripture says, 'For we do not have a high priest who is
unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been
tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then
approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.' "

-Hebrews 4:15,16.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

'O meditate....'

O meditate, how painfully
The Lamb of God, on Calvary
Has died for thy transgressions;
How dreary was that awful night 
Of agony, how great the fight
Of His most wondrous Passion!
O Son of God, eternal Word,
Divine Redeemer, dearest Lord,
We marvel at thy suff'ring;
For Thy disgrace and pain, and shame,
We'll ever magnify Thy name,
And praise Thy glorious off'ring.

[v. 2, #272  Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary]

Schweitzer does 'O Mensch, Bewein...'

'O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde grosse'

'Create and make in us new and contrite hearts....' - Ash Wednesday 2011

Almighty and everlasting God, You hate nothing that You have  made and You forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of You, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, SAECULA SAECULORUM.

[Source:  Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary]

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heritage update - March 8, 2011

Pastor Anderson continues to give the congregation accurate and consistent information about the status of the church building.  " Demolition and 
clean-up continue. The old gym is now nearly completely cleaned out, 
leaving behind only the floor slab and the south and west walls. A good 
amount of debris fell from the collapsing gym onto the adjacent flat 
roofs of the entry hall, kitchen, utility room, bathrooms, and bathroom 
hallway. All of this debris is being removed, together with the peak of 
the damaged west wall which rises above the flat roof on the west. 
Engineers continue to monitor and examine the adjacent structures, 
looking for any evidence of damage or dangerous conditions. Engineer 
Todd Christopherson is working to resolve city concerns regarding safety 
of the school wing, bathrooms, and hall way so that we begin using those 
portions of the facility again."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Heritage Lutheran Church - March 1, 2011

Demolition of the still standing east wall of the gym began Monday 
morning. A huge wrecking machine grasped the top of the wall, and the 
wall wobbled a bit. After a few attempts, the machine stopped and the 
operator stepped out to talk with the crew. Apparently the entire wall 
wanted to come down as one piece, instead of falling apart in pieces. 
So it was decided that the wall would have to be strategically cut so as 
to come down in pieces. As of day's end, the wall was down.

Today demolition continues. Debris from the wall will be hauled away. 
Debris from inside the collapsed building can now be reached, but it 
will be taken out piece by piece and stock piled in the north parking 
lot in order to enable further examination by those still studying the 
cause of the collapse.

Work inside the remaining facility continues as well. A crew began 
yesterday chipping out the old grout in the sanctuary floor, preparing 
for refinishing of that floor. Another crew began work preparing for 
installation of a temporary wall, which will divide the entry way hall 
in half, barring access and protecting the building from the standing 
south wall of the gym. It is hoped that with this wall in place, and 
with shoring up the gym wall as a precaution, the city will again grant 
us use of the sanctuary for Sunday. We won't know about use of the 
sanctuary until Friday. For now, including Weds evening worship, we 
will be back in the old fellowship hall.

Plans are also going forward for restoration of the rest of the old part 
of the building. Carpet has been ordered, and the old entry way, 
pastor's study, church office, and sacristy should be put back to 
pre-collapse condition soon.

[source:  Pastor Anderson]

Monday, February 28, 2011

Heritage Lutheran Church - February 27, 2011

Pastor Anderson's summary of the service held on February 27, 2011:

We had a pretty decent attendance for a cold 
winter day- 52 in early service and 75 in the later service. The order
of service was Rite 4 from the Hymnary, the Chorale Service. Hymns
included "Lord Jesus Christ Be Present Now,"Jesus Thy Boundless Love To
Me," "God's Own Child I Gladly Say It," and "In The Cross Of Christ I
Glory." Maybe it was just my imagination, but the congregation seemed to
sing out with more heart this morning. I think they were all glad to be

The sermon was on Matthew 6:31-34 - "So do not worry, saying, ‘What
shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For
the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows
that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not
worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has
enough trouble of its own."

This was an especially appropriate text for the congregation (and
preacher) at this time. How easy it is to worry about what will come.
But tomorrow belongs to God. We don't even know if we will have a
tomorrow (James 4:14). So we must leave tomorrow to God, trusting that
He will grant us the grace we need for whatever tomorrow may bring. We
cannot doubt God's good and gracious will toward us: "What, then, shall
we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against
us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how
will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"
(Romans 8:31,32) Yes, we must trust tomorrow to God. Today's problems
need our full attention. What can we do to help our neighbor today? How
can we be faithful stewards and serve God today?

Heritage Lutheran Church - Apple Valley - February 28, 2011

 A cyclone fence protects the site from intruders.
 The community has been very supportive of the congregation in this time of unsettled uncertainty.
President Chan Smith advises the congregation of ongoing details of the building collapse situation.

Pastor Anderson provided this account in a February 27, 2011 e-mail:
"For the first time since the Feb 4 collapse, the congregation was given 
permission to use the sanctuary for Sunday worship. The sanctuary still
looks pretty rough. The carpet on the center aisle and chancel platform
had been removed and were still bare. The altar, lectern, and pulpit
stood stark and bare, the paraments having been taken away for cleaning
and pressing. The various potted plants from the entry way were
relocated to the sanctuary to keep them out of harms' way.

The church organ is still off-site for repair. For musical accompaniment
we had only the small electric keyboard from the kindergarten room.
Although we had permission to use the sanctuary, the new main entry way
is still off limits, so no one was permitted beyond the doorway of the
sanctuary to the entry hall. Entrance and exit were through the doors on
the altar end of the building.

Still we were happy to be back in our sanctuary. It represented a move
in the right direction. We had a pretty decent attendance for a cold
winter day- 52 in early service and 75 in the later service.

We expect that demolition will begin tomorrow, staring with the east
wall, and then removal of lumber and materials from the interior.
Congregation chairman Chan Smith will continue working with the City,
engineers, and contractors toward gaining occupancy of the other
portions of the facility. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More snow in Minnesota

Approval was given to Heritage Lutheran by the city of Apple Valley for services to be held at the facility. The gym building is ruined and the sanctuary is still closed. The service was to be held in the large classroom, the original sanctuary.

TBH and I were unable to attend because of the newest snowstorm. I read from my iPad lectionary.