Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Philosophy Discussions at I.C.C. and Some Observations of Sin

Scripture: Old Testament - Malachi 3:6-4:6

New Testament - Matthew 4:12-25

Psalms: Morning - 116

Evening - 26; 130

Festival: Sts. Cosmos and Damian - martyrs

Today is philosophy day for me. I have Comparative Religions from 11am to 1pm, at 2:30-4pm I have a philosophy discussion group I get extra-credit for attending, and from 6-9pm I'm at Introduction to Philosophy.

Not to talk bad about my comparative religions professor...but there are some things about Christianity he needs to brush up on. Aside from being the butt of innumerable jokes he constantly compares it to the more "inclusive" eastern religions, lauding their ultimate ability to adapt to any new religion that comes in. He even quoted a Hindu philosopher who said that we are all climbing the mountains, and if you run around the base telling others not to climb that path, you aren't climbing your path. This rancor towards Christian ethics shined through when he explained the concept that women are treated as property, and the reason virginity is so prized (which he pointed out conservatives laud) is that it made the girl more valuable for selling. He then went on to say something like, "if you want to build your sexual mores on that, be my guest." Keep this openness about sex and eastern religions in mind, because it comes full circle later on.

For starters, here are some problems with his thesis. Women are seen as even worse in Hinduism (the religion we talked about today). In fact, if you're a woman, you'll be reincarnated did something bad in your previous life that was not in line with your Dharma. Looking at the Bible, we see Jacob getting irate at Laban for giving him Leah. This occurred not because Jacob looked at Rachel as property but he wanted her for his wife because he LOVED her. Women have been treated like second class citizens the world over, and to pin the blame on one religion when a contrary scenario is played out in that religions scripture is dishonest. Even Christianity, which he will paint as patriarchal I'm sure, honors the Theotokos above the rest of mankind. She is the only being to bear God in the flesh and she is the mother of Christians. Yeah, we hate women in Christianity. Even comparing salvation in Christianity shows we are more favorable to women, as women in Christianity can be saved while in Hinduism they must be reborn.

His other problems with Christianity are that it is arrogant to him that we will live forever in Heaven as individuals with our memories, kicking back as the universe experiences heat death. Well that's just ignorance of basic Christian teachings. Christ's return is not just a "good idea," it is fundamental to the resurrection of the dead! We will be not only with Christ, but with all the saints in perfect communion with the Triune God! Of course, we haven't gotten to Christianity yet, but I can already see this as an opportunity to see how well secular scholars really understand Christianity.

Moving from Comparative Religions, I attended a philosophical club debate which had the same guy. The topic of debate was, "is healthcare a right?" Now, very few people said, "yes." What's interesting is that many of the people who actually worked as blue collar workers argued philosophically against having it. The same professor said that the Declaration of Independence was a contract with the nation and the people that they are given those rights. I corrected him in that the Declaration of Independence hinges upon there being a Creator, and that it is He and not the state that gives rights. Now, has anyone here ever heard of the "genetic fallacy" or some such where the origin of a document does not necessarily carry through to its interpretation? That's just ludicrous! That means I can interpret anything I want to any way I want to. Now "Night" by Elie Wiesel is about Elie's latent homosexual tendencies in dealing with his fear of clowns. You see, the Nazi soldiers were the clowns, and his fear of them foreshadowed his latent homosexual tendencies. Of course it's just stupid to think that, but of course, the professor has a different worldview than I do. Can I judge that worldview? He would say, "no," most likely because that would make one of us right and hence one of us is being exclusive, not to an idea, but to a worldview, which postmodernism says is off-limits.

Enter Introduction to Philosophy. First of all, while Irwin is an almost strict Roman Catholic in the vein of St. Thomas Aquinnas, he at least has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to common sense. We both also happen to share the "premodern" view that all western religions have. He showed a video about prostitution in Thailand. The prostitution made such big money that people in poverty stricken villages sold their children into sexual slavery in order to eat. As a result, not only are children forced into horrible and monstrous situations, HIV is rampant and people die everyday from the disease. The point of the video is that your worldview colors your morality. In eastern relgions, especially Dharmatic regligions like Buddhism (an offshoot developmentally from Hinduism), what happens to you in this life is a result of your failure to follow Dharma in your past life. So they have bad Karma and that's why they're suffering. Wow, I'm glad those inclusivist religions have all the answers that prudish Christianity with its high sexual values and equality of women in God's eyes doesn't!

In Irwin's class, he brought up that in the western premodern philosophical mind, what couldn't be put into practical use as philosophy was discarded as worthless. As Christians, we fit this mindset to a degree. Sadly, sin not only causes such problems in Thailand (as in Africa and other places), but the fact that here in America people buy into the notion that we cannot judge other cultures simply because that is their right to behave that way. I don't recall the twelve year old girls getting the option or right to behave in that way. May God open the eyes of the blind and save their souls.

"Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; throgh Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."-Intercession for the Mission of the Church, LSB pg. 305

Dave's Second Video Response

Monday, September 17, 2007

4 in one day!!!!!

This is the best Martin Luther movie EVER....I love this actor!

His Holy Space Debate

The elimination of schisms is always the desired outcome of dialogue between Christian brothers and sisters. Such elimination should not occur at the expense of the Truth however. One individual on His Holy Space left me three replies in video format. The debate is on a group devoted to "hardcore discussions" of Christianity (it's called "Mars Hill Discussion Group)" and two threads in particular, "the 3rd use of the law" and "once saved always saved" generated some intense discussions between myself and a man named Dave.

Dave believes several things that have come to light. He does believe in the Holy Trinity, but denies the 3 uses of the law because he says Scripture doesn't break the law up like that. He says that because Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for sins, we are born both sinful and saved. We merely need to repent, not of our sins, but of our unbelief. He effectively then says that the law has no purpose in the life of a Christian because we are no longer under the law (although I keep pointing out to him that as Christians we would want to obey the law out of love for Christ..."if you love Me you will keep My commandments," but realizing that we are under grace. Listen carefully in the videos to how he describes "grace." The context is those passages which say that people have "fallen from God's grace" in the New Testament.

While I know strife and enmity are not our goals. I wonder how much of what we are talking about could be easily fixed with a few passages of Scripture I am just not catching. Pray for unity of the brotherhood.

Dave's first video:

Dave's second video:

Dave's third video:

Just leave your thoughts with me...or take a stop by the group. Lutheran theology usually does not sit well with Christians, and if you can tell, Dave interprets it to be works righteousness...perhaps I stated our doctrine in such a way as to indicate to him that it is works righteousness and legalism....though I usually double check for obvious mistakes like could have happened. The difference could also be language. Again, pay attention to what he says about it really grace if you have to work or persevere to obtain it?

Thinking Bloggers-Part 3 I Guess

Cheryl Magness recently said I was a blogger who made her think. The goal of this exercise is that I now nominate five blogs that have not been nominated yet which make ME think. If I call your name, step up and grab a seat on the bench :-). But seriously, if you are nominated, you then have to nominate five blogs that make YOU think and have not been nominated. You also need to link to this post which is the original.


1) Weedon's Blog - 'Nuff said. Really though, Fr. Weedon has some dynomite quotes from the early church fathers and the Lutheran fathers. His original work always makes you question what you took for granted you knew (or thought you did ;-)). I would recommend his blog and his congregation's website to anyone wishing to learn about patristics.

2) Father Hollywood - Father Beane always provides great sermons and his political musings are just funnier than sin....well, it isn't hard to be funnier than sin, but it's the best I have. I highly recommend his blog when it comes to atomic (sorry, dynomite was used above) sermons that hit home the message of God's grace through Christ.

3) House, M Div. - Literally the FUNNIEST blog I have EVER read from a Lutheran pastor. The post on Solomon's Porch is by far my favorite so far.....he's just such a smart alleck!

4) Orthophile - A blog by Cheryl that explores many "darker" areas of Lutheran theology...well, it touches theology that few are brave enough to tread. The best part is that it is biblical and she thinks like a Lutheran! Most of my vocabulary comes from the discussions she has with people in the comments.

5) Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions - A roundtable discussion about the Lutheran Confessions by learned and able pastors who desire a better understanding of what our church teaches about God's Word. Boxing gloves are optional.

Holy Cross Day Thoughts

Scripture: Old Testament-Nehemiah 1:1-2:10
New Testament-1 Timothy 1:1-20
Pslams: Morning-13
Evening-36, 5

Icon: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Troparion of the Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "Oh Lord, save your people, and bless Your inheritance. Grant victories to the orthodox Christians over their adversaries. And by virtue of Your Cross, preserve Your habitation." (Yes, I changed the "o" in Orthodox to lower case).

Kontakion of the Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "As You were voluntarily raised upon the cross for our sake, grant mercy to those who are called by Your Name, O Christ God; make all orthodox Christians glad by Your power, granting them victories over their adversaries, by bestowing on them the Invincible trophy, Your weapon of Peace." (Same as in the Troparion).

Thoughts: For some reason, I really wanted to celebrate this feast of the church. I don't know why. I didn't do the prescribed fasts of the churches that hold this feast in high regard. I didn't read the Passion narratives in the Gospels to prepare myself for the festival...and I didn't even find a Lutheran church in the area to celebrate this feast. Instead, I thought upon the prayers for the sixth and ninth hours from the Orthodox church...the only church I desired to go to that celebrated this feast (for some reason I would choose to go to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy over a Roman Mass, but that's just me).

The sixth hour daily troparion reads: "O You Who on the sixth day and hour
Nailed to the cross the sin which rebellious Adam committed
in Paradise,
Tear asunder also the bond of our iniquities,
O Christ our God, and save us."

It is amazing that Christ hung on a tree to undo the sin that Adam had done by eating from a tree in Paradise. Now, through this act, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life become one in us. The serpent did not ultimately lie, as through this act of compassion and humility on the part of God, He gives us eternal life in Him and yet we retain the knowledge of good and evil....we have in a sense, by grace, "become like God" with moral knowledge and still with eternal life.

"Here the King of all the ages, throned in light ere worlds could be, robed in mortal flesh is dying, crucified by sin for me."-Cross of Jesus, Cross of Sorrow, LSB 428 v. 2

It was at the ninth hour that the Roman centurion saw the crucified Christ and believed on Him. What better message to set men's hearts Ablaze!(tm) than this clear message of Christ and Him crucified?

You, like St. Luther may not like the story of the finding of the true cross, but such a story does not need to be true for us to appreciate the original story of this act of ultimate love, mercy, and grace on God's part for us. We celebrate today the weapon God used to conquer sin and flip the events of the Fall. Now, it is the New Adam who does right with a tree where Eve originally did wrong. He crushes the head of the Serpent/Satan in the presence of His mother, the New Eve who stands in sorrow at the horrible suffering and death of her son and her God. In the end, I would say it is sad that most Lutheran churches have forgone this feast, and many like it, which allow for the proclomation of the whole counsel of God by recognizing the guidance of the Holy Spirit in time and acknowledging that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His (Christ's) church."

Afterthought: I was pondering the passage where God desires all men to come to the knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:4). I looked, and lo and behold, there is not a part of the Litany to my knowledge that has a petition in this manner.

"For those who are still in death and darkness, we pray you to bring them to repentance and the knowledge of you by the power of Your Holy Spirit so that Your will may be done." Or something like that.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Good Samaritan PARODY!

The Good Samaritan - For Susie :-)

Scripture Readings: Old Testament - 2 Kings 4:8-22, 32-37
New Testament - Ephesians 5:15-33
Psalms: Morning - 97
Evening - 16, 62

Icon of the Day (well, for yesterday seeing as it was their festival day): St. Zechariah and St. Elizabeth

The meaning of the Good Samaritan: Suzie Fink asked me to explain this parable in written form. I would appreciate any pastoral helps beyond what I put down :-). I used this parable to introduce the high school Sunday School to the concept of biblical interpretation from a Lutheran perspective which is what this years curriculum is. I started by asking the kids what the main point of the parable was. They said things like, "love your neighbor as yourself because it's what Jesus wants," or "we're all equal and so we should help one another." I told them that that is a point of the parable, btu it isn't the MAIN point. After explaining how many people, including Christians, take Christ's parables and make them law when in fact they are really about gospel. In fact, the Parable of the Good Samaritan when properly understood is my favorite illustration of the gospel.

Good Samaritan Parable: The Gospel according to St. Luke 10:25-37

This is in response to the question: "Teacher, what must I do to inherrit eternal life?" Answer: "Nothing you can do can save you...only Christ can."

The person on the road is all of you (or man in general). The road at the time was also called the "road of death." On the road, man is beset by all manner of thieves and muggers in the form of sin and Satan. We are left for dead and we are unable to help ourselves.

The first person to come along is a pharisee who was a teacher of the law. He realized that touching a dead man would make him he went on. This shows that the law cannot help us, it can only point out that we are dead.

The second person to come along is the Levite who was a member of the priestly tribe. He also realized that touching a dead man would make him he went on. This shows that the OT sacrifices were not sufficient to save us.

Both precede the Good Samaritan, who is Christ. Christ was rejected by those he came to save and thus they looked down on Him as though He were different from them. Christ takes us from the road of death to the inn, which is the church (and the man who was left for dead does not help at all). He gives the inkeeper two silver coins and says that He will take care of anything the person needs when He returns. These two silver coins are most likely Holy Baptism and Holy Communion....the institutions of Christ for His church which give grace to a person which, when not rejected, give them faith to have Christ's payment save them.

In short: The parable is that Christ has come to save those of us who are helpless once the law and the sacrifices are shown to be worthless with regard to saving us apart from Christ, and He entrusts us to the church which has the means to keep us in fellowship with the church by faith.

I hope this helps Suzie :-).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hank Hill and the Church

Hank looses his pew in the Methodist Church (the one run by Rev. Strupe, the female preacher). The result of his church searching is HILARIOUS!

This Was Amazing for What I Was Posting!

Scripture: Old Testament - 2 Kings 2:1-18
New Testament - Ephesians 4:1-24
Psalms - Morning: 42
Evening: 102, 133

Commemoration/Festival/Icon of the Day: St. Moses the Prophet

There isn't much in the way of remembrance of Moses in the Lutheran church with regards to hymns from what I can tell. From the Orthodox tradition there are these hymns.

Troparion (Russian) of Moses: The memory of your prophet Moses, we celebrate today, O Lord. By his prayers we beseech you, O Christ God save our souls.

Kontakion (Russian) of Moses: The company of the prophets rejoices with Moses and Aaron, for their prophecy is fulfilled as the Cross by which you have saved us shines forth. Save our souls by their prayers, O Christ our God!

The Song of Moses given to him by God: Deuteronomy 32:1-43

I would have put an icon of Moses and the burning bush, but for some reason many pictures have the Blessed Virgin with the Christ child (or without) in it and I cannot for the life of me understand why that is. Was the burning bush a form of pre-figuring of the incarnation? Does it have something to do with Moses being treated as "God" for the Israelites in that they were baptized into him as they went through the Red Sea?

While posting on a creation/evolution group on, (boy, that debate can get real old real quick when it comes to atheists :-() I was looking for some church father quotes to announce my leaving of a discussion thread. I found this one from St. Maximos the Confessor that I didn't use, but really spoke to the situation: "If everything that exists was made by God and for God, and God is superior to the things made by Him, he who abandons what is superior and devotes Himself to what is inferior shows that he values things made by God more than God Himself" (The Philokalia vol. II, pg. 53).....I just thought it was interesting yet sad how accurate this is of those who deny God and Christ (in the style of Romans).

Perhaps it is interesting that this debate is discussed on the day of commemoration of the human writer of the book under question in that debate a Christian I must believe there is no such thing as "coincidence."

Quick prayer request: The mother of my friend who is attending St. Tikhon's Seminary was found to have cancer the day before he left. She has had surgery and they think they removed it all, but they are going to be doing a localized Chemo-treatment. Pray for her continued recovery.