Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: October 2011
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 

Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?

Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Today's verse

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 10:3-5 (KJV)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The mathematics of the post-Christian Church

David Barnhart has an interesting post at his blog that shows the membership of the ELCA since its beginnings in 1987. With the exception of 1990 and 1991 the denomination has lost members every year.

Overall, the ELCA has experienced a 19.2% decline in its membership from 1987 (5,288,048) to 2010 (4,274,855). By far the steepest decline was from 2009 to 2010 (5.9%, or 268,182 members). It will be interesting to see what the figures for 2011 will be like.

Supporters of the ELCA might argue that most denominations have been losing members during that period of time. That may be so, but as I recall one of the major selling points of the ELCA's 2009 decision to reject the clear teachings of the Gospel was that the new emphasis on "diversity" and "tolerance" would bring in the unchurched. That does not seem to be happening. The mathematics of post-Christian churches appears to be subtraction (driving away faithful Christians) and division (bringing conflict and chaos among those who remain).

By far the most interesting aspect - to me, anyway - of the ELCA's decline is the fact that it is slow and steady. Had the ELCA lost 19.2% (one in five) of its members in 2009-10 instead of the actual 5.9% it might have caused quite a stir among those left behind. A major loss like that would have captured the attention of even the most laid-back of laypersons. It might even (horror of horrors!) have caused people to dare to ask questions of the ELCA's leadership.

It is a situation familiar to every driver. If one of your tires blows out, you are forced to stop the car and deal with the problem. But if you have a slow leak, you can be tempted to put off facing the situation and drive on. The second scenario is the one the ELCA appears to be locked into.

The question of what the ELCA will look like a decade from now also fascinates me. I seriously doubt that the ELCA will one day go completely out of business, so the question is: will it be absorbed into another denomination (such as the Episcopal Church USA) or become a small rump of what it once was? To me the latter seems most likely. But only God knows, and He will make it known to us in good time.

Today's verse

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

Psalm 89:15 (KJV)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's verse

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Proverbs 10:2 (KJV)

Today's verse

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

John 15:10 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today's verse

Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

Psalm 35:19 (KJV)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi is "weak and frail, but is high in spirit", according to her husband. She and her family continue to pray for her freedom.

Key quote from the article:

“We are praying and fasting for our mother so that she can be with us,” said Alishba Bibi, one of Asia’s children. “Each time I meet her, I can’t hold my tears. My mother tries to hold my hand through the gaps in the grilled window and says, ‘Have faith in the Lord. He will bring me home one day’. Every time I hear these words, I cry to the Lord to bring my mother back so that we can be with her again”.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

Psalm 112:1 (KJV)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Today's verse

Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalm 40:4 (KJV)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today's verse

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Psalm 100:1-2 (KJV)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reading list

How learning works, by Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, Norman, and Mayer.

Today's verse

Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

Psalm 25:18 (KJV)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today's verse

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Psalm 9:13-14 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

A powerful story about Asia Bibi's plight.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Matthew 5:13 (KJV)