Thursday, April 30, 2009

Martin Luther Prayer

Good Afternoon-

Today I share with you a prayer by Martin Luther. If it does not pertain to you today, hold on to it, I trust it won't be long before you need such a prayer:

My Lord Jesus Christ, my neighbor has injured me,hurt my honor by talking about me, and interfered with my rights. I cannot tolerate this and I wish to avoid any contact. O God, hear my complaint. I would gladly feel kindly toward my neighbor, but I cannot. How totally cold and insensible I am. O Lord, I am helpless and forsaken. If you change me, I will be sincere. Oh dear God, change me by your grace, or I must remain as I am. Amen.


Pelagianism is still around

From Christianity Today's This Week in History:

April 30, 418:
Roman Emperor Honorius (395-423) issues a decree against Pelagianism, a heresy teaching that man can take the initial and fundamental steps towards salvation by his own efforts, apart from divine grace.

And yet it is still taught and preached most egregiously by those supposedly in the reformation tradition - nowadays known as "Decision Theology" - first you make a "decision for Christ" THEN God will forgive and save you... or "First you have to repent and THEN God will forgive you". Or worse, the "Four Spiritual Laws" that if you follow, God will have no choice but to forgive you and be your best bud.

All of this is heresy...."I believe that I cannot by my own strength believe in or come to him" - Explanation to the Third Article of the Creed in Martin Luther's Small Catechism

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days and the World Hasn't Come to an End

This cracked me up --the Vatican felt it necesary to release a statement that the first 100 days of Obama's administration hasn't turned out as bad as they'd feared.

Vatican Newspaper- No Radical Changes in Obama's First 100 Days.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Vegetarian Lasagna

I'm in our Club's Ice show this weekend and we have practice every night so I don't have a lot of energy to post - I hope to blog more about it later. In the mean time --here's the recipe for the lasagna I brought to our practice potluck tonight:

1 can diced tomatoes
About an inch from the tubed tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 Cups Red wine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 celery stalks chopped fine
2 carrots grated
Handful of chopped mushrooms
handful of cut up fresh spinach
1/4 cup brown sugar
a few shakes celery salt
Penzeys California Pepper mix
Pinch Cayanne pepper
about 1/2 inch tubed basil
dry basil
1/2 tsp dry Penzeys Italian Herbs (or Basil and Oregano)
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
1 Cup Ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/2 Cup real fresh mozzarella, (sold in a white ball) grated
1 Cup regular shredded mozzarella
*Note - fresh mozzarella is the best and if you have the money and the time to grate real mozzarella then use just that and skipped the regular stuff
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan Cheese
6-9 strips lasagna pasta

Preheat Oven 350

Heat your pan - low. Remember - hot pan - cold oil - food won't stick.

Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil. Keep your heat low and add garlic - watch carefully - garlic burns easily. Add onions, peppers and celery and saute until onions are transparent. Add grated carrots. Add a tiny bit of cayenne pepper- just to make it interesting. Add celery salt, pepper and Italian herbs. Shake a little balsamic vinegar -cook that until it evaporates- add 1/4 Cup wine and about an inch of the tubed tomato paste. Stir and saute for awhile until it's thick. Add tomato sauce and the rest of the wine and brown sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Add mushrooms last 10 minutes.

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a bowl mix the Ricotta cheese with the egg, about 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp sugar and about 1/2 inch from the tubed basil.

Cut the fresh spinach into strips.

Spray a 13 x 9 glass pan (or whatever you have about that size) and layer 3 or 4 (or whatever fits) pasta on the bottom. Spread the Ricotta mixture on the pasta with a spatuala. Layer the fresh spinach on top of that. Layer the tomato mixture on top of that. Add about 1/4 cup grated fresh mozzarella on top of that. Add a layer of 3 or 4 lasagna strips on top of that. Spread about a tsp of plain tomato sauce (not the vegtable mixture) Add the regular mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan on top of that. Sprinkle with basil leaves. Bake about 30-35 minutes.

Monday Afternoon Skating Video

Jayne Torville & Christopher Dean, 1984

Okay everyone's heard of their amazing "Bolero" 1984 Free Dance....but their OSP (original set pattern - where you take an established dance and make up steps to it) Paso Doble was incredible!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Miss California Gay Marraige Controversy

I really don't care anything about Miss America and what anybody involved in it thinks about anything and frankly am mystified anybody else cares what they think. But it on everyone's mind at our adult Bible Study and they all thought Miss California was treated unfairly for speaking her mind and saying marriage should be between a man and a woman.

So this is what I think and it's probably going to piss off everyone.

#1 - There is a significant number of Christians who are not going to accept same sex marriage. You can disagree with them and I do, but having a different interpretation of the bible than me does not make someone homophobic. Frankly we cannot demand tolerance from others for views they find repugnant if we are not willing to exhibit the same tolerance.

This is what we in the ELCA are going to have to learn to do if we are going to be able to live together. We are considering a local option. We are asking people to be willing to live in the church with other churches that have Gay and Lesbian leaders in committed same sex relationships. That means we need to be willing to live in a church with churches that won't accept them. That's called compromise.

#2 This is Miss America, People!
I think anyone woman who enters it should know full well she gives up the right to have people care if she has an opinion or a brain.

"But I didn't win because of my opinion" So what? Somebody else didn't win because because her butt was too big! Give me a break.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Everything you Wanted to Know about Mark

Today is the Commemoration of St. Mark, Evangelist

St Mark is usually identified with the John Mark of the Book of Acts, a kinsman of Barnabas (Col 4:10). His mother Mary, was a prominent member of the early church and owned the house where the early church gathered for prayer. It was to her house that Peter returned after his release from prayer (Acts 12:12) and some have suggested that this was also the site of the Last Supper.

John Mark accompanied his cousin Barnabas and St. Paul on the first missionary journey. He had a falling out with Paul for some reason and Paul refused to take him on the second journey (acts 15:36-40) Later, however they were reconciled. Paul mentions him as a trusted assistant in Colossians 4:10 and again in 2 Timothy 4:11.

The Apostle Peter had a co-worker whom he refers to as "my son Mark" (1 Peter 5:13). Papias, an early second century writer, in describing the origins of the Gospels, tells us that Mark was the "interpreter" of Peter, and that he wrote down ("but not in order") the stories that he had heard Peter tell in his preaching about the life and teachings of Jesus.

Tradition says that Mark was the first bishop of Alexandria and was martyred there in 64 AD. In 829 what was thought to be Mark’s remains were removed from Alexandria to Venice and buried in the famous St. Mark Cathedral.

Mosaic on St. Mark showing how the sailors covered the body relics with a layer of pork. Since Muslims are not allowed to touch pork, this action was done to prevent Muslim intervention in the relics removal.

The Coptic Orthodox Church believes that the head of the saint remained in Alexandria. Every year, they celebrate the commemoration of the consecration of the church of St. Mark, and the appearance of the head of the saint in the city of Alexandria.

Mark's symbol in art is a Lion, usually winged. In the book of Revelation, the visionary sees about the throne of God four winged creatures: a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. Traditionally these four creatures were thought to represent the four Evangelists - a winged man because of his human geneology of Jesus and his emphasis on the Incarnation. Mark is a lion because his gospel begins with John the Baptist roaring like a lion. Luke is a winged ox because which represents temple sacrifice and Luke begins with the temple duties of the priest Zacharias, and John is the eagle because he begins with Christ in heaven.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Five - Bucket List

So the folks over at the Rev GalBlog Pals are putting together Bucket Lists. Five things I want to do before I die

Fall in love again -- and I should add, be loved back. Not an unrequited crush - I've had a few of those and they do keep life from getting too boring but I'd like something requited as well. I don't necessarily want to get married again tho I'm not opposed to the idea.

Pay off all my debt --and while I'm still young enough to enjoy the extra money.

Have a reason to wear a formal gown - other than my daughter's wedding - I want to go to a fancy ball or dinner where everyone dresses up and get my hair done - with a date!

Take one of those Paul's Journeys tours through Greece and Asia Minor - preferably with a cruise included

Take my grandchildren to Disneyland

Tonya Harding On Oprah Yesterday

Tonya Harding exemplifies my frustration with people who think that being a victim absolves you of all responsibility or accountability.

Tonya still claims she had no prior knowledge of her husband Jeff Gillooly's plot to injure her rival Nancy Kerrigan to take her out of the competition for the 1994 Winter Olympics. And then when she did find out, supposedly she feared for her life because of Jeff's abuse.

Even if I believed either of her stories, which I don't, I would be dismayed by her lack of any sadness or remorse on account of what happened to Nancy because of her. When Oprah asked her "Well how did you feel about what happened to Nancy" she talked about how hard SHE had worked to get where she was in skating. Because, you know, it's all about her. Asked what she would say to Nancy today...she talked about how SHE, TONYA was the first woman to land a triple axel and "no one can take that away from me" because, you know, it's all about HER.

I believe it is true that Tonya had an abusive mother and was not raised in a stable situation. Lots of people come out of horrendous situations. But in the skating world she had people who protected her from her mother and took her under their wing and gave her an opportunity to rise above her circumstances. Not a word from her about all the people who helped and supported her. No she just blamed the skating world for choosing Nancy because she was "the good girl". The idea that maybe when she stopped training and pretty much lost her triple axel by 1993 and Nancy actually skated better than her never occurred to her. She claimed that skating officials told her she had to stay with Jeff Gillooly so she would look like she was in a happy marraige if she wanted to get on the Olympic team. That is such bullshit. To get on the Olympic team, you skate well. The skating association wants people who will skate well at the Olympics on the team, they don't care if you are happily married or not.

I guess what just burns me about Tonya is that she has a choice. All around the world there are women who are REAL victims who have few options. There were options for Tonya. She threw them away and still chooses to identify herself as a victim. Then she gets all this attention, people see the manipulation and narcissism and then look with suspicion on other women who may be real victims.

It was interesting to contrast Tonya with Oprah's other guest --Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who cut off her husband's um, offending member. She too claims to be a victim of abuse. Her story rings truer. It convinced a jury.

Lorena now talks of learning her lesson and how she now helps other women get out of abusive situations. Tonya just talks about how she landed the first triple axel.

Lorena has moved on, she's married and has a child. Tonya has been in and out of the news with various run ins with the law. It's never been her fault. She has made a life out of being a victim.

There seems to be a theological message in all of this. Lorena has owned her role in her own "victimhood" and moved on by helping others. She has put the past behind her and is living a new life. Tonya never owned any of her responsibility for the decisions she made that set the events in motion led to her disgrace. She cannot seem to let go of the few years she was in the limelight and one of the greatest skaters. She is still seeking the limelight. She is still wrapped up in herself and is still miserable.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

About kitchen signs

Do your church ladies like to put up a bunch of signs in the kitchen making sure nobody makes a misstep?

This guy made a video about kitchen signs;

Lutherans Love Kitchens and signs

First we exploit them. Then we lock them up. Now we are stealing their children.

After loosing freedom, Some Immigrants Face Loss of Custody of Their Children

You have to register to get the article which is free, but in case you don't want to do that...the upshot is that mothers who were swept up in the ICE raids across the country and then prosecuted (most of the time without due process) for identity theft (that means their employers gave them fake social security numbers) are losing custody of their children.

One of the 136 illegal immigrants detained in the raid was Carlos’s mother, Encarnación Bail Romero, a Guatemalan. A year and a half after she went to jail, a county court terminated Ms. Bail’s rights to her child on grounds of abandonment. Carlos, now 2, was adopted by a local couple.

I live about 3 hours away from Postville and know people who live there and what we are doing as a government to these people is just incomprehensible. I thought it was bad when for "humane reasons" - mothers of small children in Postville were not jailed but were given monitoring devices. BUT they could not work. Or leave. Or receive any government support. So they were essentially left to beg. The churches in the area have been left to support about 100 of these families. Since last May. And most of these women still have no court date in sight.

I thought that was bad. But at least they have their children. But to put women in jail and then steal their children? What are they thinking? I am deeply deeply ashamed of this country.

"When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien"
Leviticus 19:33

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Father's Tribute

You all should go read my friend John's tribute to his daughter on her 17th Birthday. It's very moving.

Church Stuff - More or Less

Adult National Figure Skating Championships

The Adult National Figure Skating Championships are taking place in Grand Rapids, MI this week. What is that you may ask? Those are the championships for old farts like me who like to figure skate. You might see a triple or two from the younger men in the category of adults who skated as kids but triple jumps is not what it is about for the most who are there.

Most of the competitors are people like me who learned to figure skate when they were adults.
Figure skating is very very very difficult. The skaters you see on TV (oh wait that you USED to see because you never get to see skating on TV anymore) started when they were like 5 before they learned to fear hurling themselves into the air and landing on less than a fourth of an inch of the edge of their blade on ice.

But some of us crazy old people decided we wanted to try it. And so US Figure Skating created a category for us so we could compete against other adults who started as adults. We even have our own test structure. These championships are not so much about beating the competition but challenging yourself, getting the ice to yourself and showing everyone what you can do and cheering on your friends. I've only been to one all adult skating competition and it was amazing. Very different from the competitions I would take my daughter to - who also skates. I took my daughter along as my coach and she was amazed at the comradre and to see adults in the locker room that were not freaking their daughters out. One of the ladies that I competed against brought stuffed animals for her friends to throw to all her

About a year ago I was going to go because they added an event - solo dance that I can qualify for. Oh that's another thing - anybody can go to Nationals if you have passed the right tests. I'm not skating at a high enough free style level to compete, but I could qualify for solo dance. (That's ice dance without the partner) But it was in Michigan and seemed a little expensive. And I'm doing a feature spot as Auntie Em in our Ice show and I would have missed a lot of rehearsals. But it's in Minnesota next year and I'm definitely planning on going next year. If I can pass my Swing Dance.

Adult Figure Skating


The ELCA is going to be airing ads. Here's one:

More here and a schedule of where to see them. Glen Beck? Really? Why???