25 November 2008

Attention Lutheran pastors

If you're happy where you are, please ignore this.

If you're upset at a parish council or Voters' meeting, this isn't for you.

If you think that Lutheranism is just going through a bad patch now and will, sooner or later, get back on track, forget about this.

But if you think that Lutheranism has a genetic flaw, from which it cannot recover...
If you are coming to the persuasion that Lutheranism is not Church, and you want to find the Church...
If you are looking for somewhere to talk about the concerns you have, with folks who have gone through it before...
If you are even looking for practical help, to make the transition from life as a pastor to life as a layman of the Orthodox Church,

then please contact me about a Yahoo! group I have started. Just drop a line to pastor_hogg[at]hotmail[dot]com. Be sure to include your phone number, and a good time to reach you.

22 November 2008

Does anyone else find this ironic?

As Will Rogers said, "There is no credit to being a comedian, when you have the whole Government working for you. All you have to do is report the facts. I don't even have to exaggerate."

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic leaders ordered Detroit's Big Three automakers Friday to submit what amounts to a detailed loan application to Congress so lawmakers can decide whether to give the beleaguered industry an emergency $25 billion lifeline.

In a letter to the auto executives released Friday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanded a detailed accounting by Dec. 2 of the companies' financial condition and short-term cash needs, as well as how they would achieve long-term viability.

"The auto companies' shareholders, business partners and prospective benefactors - the American people - deserve to see a plan that is accountable to taxpayers and that is viable for the long-term," Pelosi, D-Calif., and Reid, D-Nev., wrote.

19 November 2008

Hummus rap

For all those Orthodox who've begun the Nativity fast, check out this rap on Hummus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIybz6axr1Q

HT: Fr. Shenork Souin

A poem: John 21

When you were young, your hands were free
and where you willed, you went;
In old age you will follow me
suspended head-down on a tree
you'll go where you are sent."

We conjure fates we could not bear
and run to get away;
With fervent hope and patient care,
with cry and shout "It is not fair!"
We hold our fear at bay.

Until at last our hands are bound,
our face is turned to see
What we feared most, like some dread hound
is but the means by which we're crowned
And find true liberty.

(I wrote this in 1996; all rights reserved--not that it's good, but that it's mine.)

09 November 2008

Sermon notes from 9 Nov 2008: Jairus' daughter

Text: Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood
(Standard disclaimer--these are the notes from which I preached this morning--not the full text.)

Prayer isn’t just one topic among others, for Christians. It’s the point of the Christian life. The holy fathers teach us that prayer is the fruit, and works are the leaves, of the Christian life. Prayer is not one of the virtues; it’s the mother of them all, as St. Isaac the Syrian says, “Catch the mother (prayer) and the children (the virtues) will come to you.” And St. Paul says, First of all, then, I exhort that prayers be made…”

So let’s ask ourselves,

How is our prayer life?

Do we pray at all?

Do we pray mechanically?

Is prayer simply another thing on our daily to-do list?

Today’s text gives us lessons in prayer.

1. It doesn’t matter what kind of need.

a. Girl: alive for 12 years, now dying;

b. Woman: a living death for 12 years.

2. It doesn’t matter what your status is.

a. Girl: daughter of a prominent man;

b. Woman: nameless, one in a crowd.

3. It doesn’t matter whose is the need.

a. Girl: Another asked Jesus on her behalf;

b. Woman: She went to Christ on her own behalf.

4. Even the quality of your faith doesn’t matter.

a. Girl: Jairus, her father, had little faith;

b. Woman: wanted to keep her faith anonymous.

Note: Christ does not rebuke her touching his garment. Nor is this an exception—many later do the same, both w/Christ and w/ his apostles. It still happens today—story of St. Nektarios of Pentapolis.

5. What matters?

a. That we come to Christ in need.

“Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you.”

b. That we come to Christ without fear.

“Let us come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may receive grace and mercy to help us in time of need.”

c. That we come to Christ in faith.

“He who would come to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek him.”

So let us call on him in our time of need, our day of trouble. He will answer us, and we will glorify him, both here and in his Kingdom, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

05 November 2008

On January 21,

...we will still pray, in our eucharistic petitions, for the President of the United States and all civil authorities, and for our armed forces everywhere.

We face some serious challenges, as Church:
  • to promote, in practical ways, a culture of life when our culture has embraced choice;
  • to practice repentance and self-control, at a time when indulgence is everywhere;
  • to love and serve the poor from our own resources, when more than ever people will think "That's the government's job."
I think that Senator Obama has a very hard road ahead of him. I think he will end up disappointing his own supporters (because their expectations are so high) more than those who opposed him. (I've heard no one reflect on what it means that a Congress with lower approval ratings than the President's has been reaffirmed in this election. If they try to push an agenda that was unapproved before, it should be interesting.)

His election does represent a new step in making our culture color-blind, and that is good.

I hope he is less likely to want to meddle in other parts of the world (like Iraq and the Russia/Georgia conflict), and have a more balanced view of the Middle East; time will tell. God give him wisdom, and protect him, and save our nation.

We are moving ever more rapidly to the situation the Church faced before the edict of Milan. Now, on with the work of repentance...