Friday, October 30, 2009

My next read:

Quarter one is nearing its end and the mounting pile of essays, papers and tests needs my immediate attention. However, before I scale that mountain I need to get a copy of my next read. While attending a conference on Thursday I heard Anthony Muhammad speak about transforming school culture. Dr. Muhammad presented some interesting material that needs more absorption time.
I'm not sure I'll be able to read it during Thanksgiving vacation, perhaps Christmas vacation will give me more time. However, at some point I'd like to take a closer look at what Dr. Muhammad presented. He doesn't simply point out the challenges in education, he also presents solutions. That's what we need: solutions. It will be an interesting read...when I actually get a chance to read it. How many days until summer vacation?

What's in the blog hopper?

The MANS conference is a gathering of non-public schools. This year it's held in Detroit at Cobo Hall. I was hoping I would bump into Kwame on Thursday during his return to Detroit where he stated he did not know if his wife had a job in the past year. Really? I didn't bump into Kwami, his wife's employer or any of his Texas security thugs. However, I did stroll around the hallways of Cobo. There has been much hubub about this place. The North American International Auto Show threatened to accelerate past Detroit for another venue. Is Cobo in such paltry condition that The NAIA would really go somewhere else?

With camera in hand, I'm about to find out.

Hopefully, I can get this story together quickly so A-Flu doesn't scoop me on this post.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A-Flu Called Out!

So someone else is calling out A-Flu. Perhaps he's writing under another blogger alias. Perhaps he can't show his face after a miserable loss to MSU and a worse showing against Penn State. Perhaps he really has forgotten his password. Perhaps he's intimidated by the journalistic excellence of The North Star blog.

Perhaps he'll respond...

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Island is Getting Crowded

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one that believes The Shack is dangerous tripe. Below is a letter to the editor from Rev. Terry Forke as published in the August 2009 issue of The Lutheran Witness. I'd enjoy hearing a rebuttal that doesn't sacrifice the inerrancy of Scripture or disregard The Great Commission.

"I am very thankful that Rev. Borst spent hours discussing The Shack with his members and did not leave them without guidance (May Lutheran Witness). This is a healthy pastoral response to such a popular book.

However, I am very concerned that he has underestimated the negative impact this book will have on believers and unbelievers alike. In that regard I have four, admittedly lengthy, questions.

What percentage of the readers of The Shack will allow themselves to be guided in their understanding of it by faithful pastors who are trained to discern the heresies that are contained in the book and acknowledged by Rev. Borst?

What percentage of its reader swill put down the book believing the following heresies? God goes by different names in different religions but is the same god (pp. 31and 181). The Bible is a means for the “intelligentsia” of the church to maintain control of people’s access to God (p. 65). That God does not punish sin (p. 119), nor does He want us to be sorry for it, nor does He want to forgive us for it (pp. 184and 206). God did not create the authority of parents, government,and the Church for the sake of order in the world; they are only means for people to maintain control of others (p. 179). The Scriptures are not necessary because the Holy Spirit prefers to speak directly to us (pp. 195 and 198). The primary function of Jesus is to demonstrate God’s willingness to interact with humans. His death and resurrection for our justification is not what is most important (entire book).

What would be the spiritual state of those who believe these heresies?

What percentage of its readers who end up in that state is acceptable in order for us to back this as a modern novel worthy of consideration?

Call me a hack if you will, but I would prefer to attack a book that, in my estimation, will lead the majority of its readers away from Jesus as the only means of salvation.

Rev. Terry Forke
Billings, Mont.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Truth Project

Here's a recent Issues Etc. broadcast discussing the strengths and weakness of The Truth Project. The Gospel must always dominate.

Share your toys...and your teachers?

Part Two
It seems this teacher sharing concept is a win/win for both schools. Public schools get to increase enrollment numbers, thus increasing per-pupil funding. The parochial school fills a non-core position without paying one dime. In this economy saving money matters.

One concern I have with the program has nothing to do with its immediate impact. Let's look past the curb, around the bend, down the road. Will parochial schools that use shared-teachers ever give them up voluntarily? Will parochial schools that haven't paid salary and benefits, suddenly start paying? Hmmm, I may not be a finance major but I have been to enough voters meetings to know the answer to that question.

Here's where my concern surfaces. What happens to the Concordia University Ann Arbor graduate who is majoring in physical education or art or computers? Those jobs are slowly diminishing because of this shared-teacher conundrum. So after four, but most likely five, years of attending a Concordia, graduates discover their jobs have been parcelled out to public school teachers?

The effects continue. How long will it be before Concordia computer teachers, art teachers and physical education teachers look to the future and find their future fuzzy? If Lutheran grade schools and high school, that support the Concordia University System, don't support its graduates with jobs, why would those students continue attending the Concordias?

Yes, that's a rhetorical question.

More concerns surface in the next

Chapel Two

I’m not a big fan of the real world concept. No, I’m not talking about that lame MTV reality show. I’m talking about the concept that the real world is out there and while you are here you are sheltered from it, protected from it, being prepared to enter it…As if there is this heavy black curtain and when you are leaving the confines of this school, we pull it back and kick you out into it. Have fun!

That’s the real world concept I’m talking about and I’m not a fan because it assumes this isn’t the real world. It assumes the real world’s problems don’t exist here. It assumes that because we all believe, and I’m not sure that all of us sitting in her believe this, but it assumes that because we all believe that Christ is the one, true Savior and the only way to heaven, that our eternity - our salvation is assured. This assumption, some believe, means this can’t be the real world.

So the real world’s problems don’t exist here? That’s funny because I know I heard students cursing today in the hallway. That’s funny because I know we treat each other like crud and worse. That’s funny because I know parties this year included North students drinking and using drugs. That’s funny because I know guys who have attended this school have gotten girls pregnant. That’s funny because I know girls who have attended this school have gotten pregnant. That’s funny because I know guys and girls who have attended this school believe pre-marital sex is a rite of passage or at least just something to do on the weekends and not something forbidden by our God and Creator who created sex as a gift of marriage.

So the real world’s problems don’t exist here? That’s funny because I know that despite our best intentions, our original sin, the sin that is genetically stamped on us at the moment of conception also severs us from the God who created us. In reality it’s not funny at all. It’s sin and as we all know the consequences of sin, the wages of sin is death eternal.

That’s why I’ve never bought into the idea that the real world is out there just... waiting…for…you.

No, the real world is right here, right now.

But maybe the idea is that out there, we are chastised and mocked and persecuted for our beliefs and in here…were not?

Really? Hmmm, the next time your friend says something like, “Hey, Beatrice come on over tonight, the premiere of Gossip Girls is on!” How about you respond with something like, “Hmmmm, Gossip Girls... Isn’t that the show about those rich teenage socialites living in New York, who are having sex with one another, while they drink, lie, use, cheat and steal their way through adolescence? You know, I’m not sure the God who created me, the God who sacrificed His Son for me would find that kind of entertainment pleasing. Thanks anyway.”

Or try running this one. This weekend as you attend various homecoming parties tell your friends you aren’t going to Franklin Magillicutty’s party because you know people will be drinking and using drugs and you might be tempted to drink and use or you just don’t think it’s God-pleasing or smart to attend any party where teenagers are drinking or using. Stuff happens and that stuff isn’t part of God’s plan for anyone’s life. Besides, tell them, part of the theme for this school year is to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and this is one sin that easily entangles so I’m throwing it off” So, thanks for the invitation but no thanks.

Yeah, run those. I’m sure people won’t call you a prude. In fact, I’m positive they won’t call you a prude, because those are words old “prudey” people like myself use. No, you won’t be called prude. It’ll be worse.

No, the real world is right here, right now.
The real world, with all its shame, sin, guilt, sorrow and eternal consequences is in here and there’s nothing we can do about it. Now I don’t mean there’s nothing we can do about it so jump into the sin hopper and hedonistically enjoy the worldly pleasures of life. No, there is nothing we can do to avoid God’s wrath because Christ has already done everything and the only thing that could be done about it. He took it upon Himself. He sacrificed his life so our lives could be filled with hope not hate, forgiveness not shame, righteous freedom not enslaved to sin.

Paul Kretzmann, a gifted writer and Lutheran theologian, commented on this life Christ has given us through His death on the cross: “Christ’s salvation is our salvation, because we were baptized into His death. By taking our sins upon Him and paying the full price for them by His suffering and death, Christ has delivered us not only from the guilt and punishment, but also from the power of sin. And since we have become Christ's own by Baptism and have been baptized into His death, we are delivered from the power of death; its authority and sovereignty over us is at an end."

I love that last line, “it’s authority and sovereignty over us is at an end.” Christ made sure our sins were absolved with His death. Christ made sure He became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so God, would see us as redeemed children of God, perfect in His sight. And because of Christ, that is exactly who we are. We are forgiven. We are cleansed. We are made whole again. We are transformed. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in Christ and it is Christ alone that saves us, Christ alone that redeems us, Christ alone that forgives us and Christ alone that grants us eternal life.

Yes, this is the real world with real sin and thankfully a real Savior that really saved us from all our sins so we can live in this real world with hope, forgiveness and the promise of eternal salvation all because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Yes, our sins are forgiven. Yes, we are saved. Yes, we rest in the assurance that salvation is ours. Yes we live or lives in response to the gift of eternal life found in the Gospel of Christ Jesus our Lord and No that doesn’t give us the freedom to sin because we are redeemed in Christ. In fact, that’s where Paul begins in chapter 6 of Romans. The glory of these verses is that God, through Paul, reveals the magnificence of Christ’s work and the righteous freedom we have because of it.

Romans 6
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace…17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending Christ into this real world of sin and redeeming us with His real body and blood which grants us real forgiveness and real salvation.