Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: March 2012
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, March 31, 2012

The sound of silence

John R. Stumme, the retired Director of the Department for Studies in the Church in Society unit of the ELCA, wonders why the ELCA has not taken a public stand against recent government efforts to define religion. The case in question is the HHS mandate that would force Catholic Church organizations to pay for abortion and contraceptives.

Key quote from the end of the article:

I do not know the reasons for this silence. I am not surprised, though, that a church body whose health plan pays both for contraceptives and also for a range of procedures including those for miscarriage and abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy has not stood with church bodies that for theological and moral reasons refuse to pay for contraception. I would hope, however, that our church, recognizing the larger issue at stake, would be vigilant and vocal when questions arise about federal regulatory agencies defining religious organizations in ways that limit religious freedom.

Stumme is puzzled by the ELCA's reticence on this issue, although this silence probably should not surprise anyone. The history of the ELCA since its formation and its growing abandonment of the Christian faith has been painfully clear, although many (such as myself) lived in denial for many years. To the extent the ELCA's leadership still believes in a god or gods, it is a god of extremist secular political activism they have created in their own image. In the ELCA's secular progressive mindset, Catholics who still adhere to their denomination's position against contraception are nothing more than ignorant, knuckle-dragging barbarians who live only to oppress women (or Muslims, or homosexuals, or minorities, or whichever group happens to be the focus of the hot political topic of the day).

Why should the ELCA support religious freedom when their new god demands absolute obedience to the gospel of modern progressive thinking? They would sooner pluck out their own eye then be caught doing anything that could be even remotely considered "conservative".

Today's verse

And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

Judges 2:18 (KJV)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Today's verse

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Matthew 12:20 (KJV)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today's verse

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Exodus 15:2 (KJV)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

The online petition A Call for Mercy recently passed 600,000 signatures. In Pakistan alone, over 170,000 have asked that Asia Bibi be freed.

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

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Today's verse

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

Psalm 55:16-17 (KJV)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today's verse

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:19-23 (KJV)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

CathNews interviews Anne-Isabelle Tollet, a French journalist who has written about Asia Bibi.

Key quote:

[Tollet]...told CNA that Bibi spends an average day in her cramped cell praying for her children and looking forward to the one day a week she gets to briefly see her husband.

“She prays all day long. She has never wavered in her faith fortunately, because that has enabled her to keep going,” Tollet said.

Here is the real war on women - not the self-serving partisan garbage that too many in the secular media prefer to write about.

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

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reading list

Blacklisted by history, by M. Stanton Evans.

Today's verse

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Psalm 34:18 (KJV)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walls of water

In the Book of Exodus, Pharaoh was so blinded by his hatred of the Hebrews that while chasing them (in order to slaughter them) he ignored the walls of water on both sides - until it was too late.

I thought about that Bible story because of two events. The first was today, when the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (Uscirf) released its 14th annual report. The report recommended that the State Department officially designate the following countries to be designated a “Country of Concern”:

  • Burma

  • China

  • Egypt

  • Eritrea

  • Iran

  • Iraq

  • Nigeria

  • North Korea

  • Pakistan

  • Saudi Arabia

  • North Sudan

  • Tajikistan

  • Turkey

  • Turkmenistan

  • Uzbekistan

  • Vietnam

  • Key quote from the article:

    Christians are far from the only religious group persecuted in these countries. But, Christians are the only group persecuted in each and every one of them. This pattern has been found by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and The Economist, all of which recently reported that an overwhelming majority of the religiously persecuted around the world are Christians. Globally, this persecution is experienced by all Christian faith traditions from Pentecostal and evangelical to Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.

    The second event was the recent decision by my hometown newspaper to publish this bombastic editorial. Here are some screenshots just in case the editors suddenly get cold feet and decide to dump it down the memory hole:


    It is safe to say this editorial would keep an army of psychiatrists busy for quite a while dissecting the various paranoiac fears that seem to drive its authors. But the most important thing to remember is that the frightened bigots at The Eagle who wrote the editorial represent the soft and pampered secular progressives that dominate academia and the media in Western countries. The more removed they are from actual oppression and violence, the more likely they are to see it in everyday life - and to try to extract revenge on those who dare to disagree with them. Like Pharaoh, the only thing truly real to them is their hate.

    But rather than blindly strike back at their oppressors, Christians should never forget that evil men and women are punished by God in the end. Whatever men (and women) sow in this life they will reap in the next. The bigots and bullies who rage today will eventually tremble before God's holy judgment. Turn the other cheek - and pray that our oppressors will do likewise. This is what God has commanded us to do.

    Today's verse

    And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    Luke 16:20-31 (KJV)

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Today's verse

    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

    Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Today's verse

    Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.

    Psalm 52:1-5 (KJV)

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Today's verse

    And [Jesus] looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

    Luke 21:1-4 (KJV)

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Today's verse

    I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

    Exodus 33:19 (KJV)

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    MITx offers its first course

    I am a bit late on this, but MITx is offering its first online course:

    Taught by Anant Agarwal, with Gerald Sussman and Piotr Mitros, 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics) is an on-line adaption of 6.002, MIT’s first undergraduate analog design course. This prototype course will run, free of charge, for students worldwide from March 5, 2012 through June 8, 2012. Students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the material and earn a certificate from MITx.

    Like it or not, online education seems to be a trend that is worth watching.

    Pi Day celebrated in Tanzania

    Here is the story.

    Today's verse

    Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit

    Psalm 51:10-12 (KJV)

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Civility is for the little people

    Where are the self-anointed civility and tolerance enforcers in the secular media and academia, now that we really need them? Bill Maher claims GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum homeschools his children in a "Christian madrassa" in order to keep them ignorant. Maher's anti-Catholic bigotry is fave rave among the glitterati, although he might catch some blowback from Muslims for his crack about "madrassas".

    I am trying to figure out how celebrities who attack the young children of conservative politicians like Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum escape the wrath of the Civility Gestapo, while those who criticize a 30-year old student who wants to sponge off of society by forcing them to pay thousands of dollars a year for her birth control are guilty of some heinous crime. Critics of Rush Limbaugh would have a stronger case if so many of them were not such lying hypocrites when it comes to civility.

    Happy Pi day!

    Today is 3/14 - Pi Day. And since no one can get enough pi, here is pi to one thousand digits (source):


    The scale of the Universe

    Here is a fascinating interactive demo about the size of the Universe (h/t MyBrokenFiat).

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Human rights activists and a former President of the UN General Assembly have appealed to the government of Pakistan to release Asia Bibi. The Voice of the Martyrs online petition calling for the release of Asia Bibi can be found here.

    Meanwhile, another woman in Pakistan has been accused of blasphemy. Key quote from the article:

    In the meantime, another young Christian woman has been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. Police in the district of Bahawalnagar, Lahore, charged Shamim, 26, the mother of a five-month baby girl, with insulting the Prophet Muhammad. The alleged incident occurred on 28 February of this year and became public yesterday when she was taken into custody by police. According to her family, Shamim was unjustly accused because she refused to convert to Islam. The accusations came from relatives who had recently converted.

    Never forget the price that many must pay in order to follow Christ.

    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

    Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ

    Colossians 2:8 (KJV)

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Government-approved religion

    The British government is preparing to argue before the European Court of Human Rights that Christians do not have the right to wear a cross. The case involves two British women who are suing for the right to wear crosses at work.

    Key quote:

    A document seen by The Sunday Telegraph discloses that [British] ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.

    So now the British government will determine which activity is Christian and which is not. Can ordering Christians to accept certain religious ideas while rejecting others be far behind? Talk about theocracy!

    Witness to the faith: Jennie Stone

    Please pray to end the genocide of abortion.

    Today's verse

    For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

    II Corinthians 4:5 (KJV)

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    When "settled science" becomes theocracy

    David Coppedge, an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s international Cassini mission to Saturn, is suing JPL after being fired. Coppedge charges that he was let go because of his views on Intelligent Design (more on the case can be found here).

    The irony is that the same government - which promotes a variety of crackpot ideas such as global warming and insists on "diversity" and "tolerance" in the workplace - is suddenly squeamish about ideas that contradict those held by secular elites. Thou shalt not blaspheme Darwin!

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Megan Linski has not forgotten Asia Bibi. Nor has God.

    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.

    Reading list

    Geometry, relativity, and the fourth dimension, by Rudolph v. B. Rucker

    Today's verse

    For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

    1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV)

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Today's verse

    For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

    1 Corinthians 1:17-20 (KJV)

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Academic thuggery

    University of Rochester President Joel Seligman rebukes economics professor Steven Landsburg for daring to criticize Sandra Fluke. Worse still, seventeen students disrupted Professor Landsburg's lecture with no consequences from the university's administration. Is this America, or Nazi Germany?

    So much for free speech.

    So much for academic freedom.

    This is why I rarely take complaints about the tone of political discourse in America seriously. Too many in the secular media and the universities who wail about "incivility" are like President Seligman: lying hypocrites willing to demand self-censorship from those whom they hate while reserving for their side the right to use intimidation, threats, and even violence if it furthers their political objectives.

    And as for Miss Fluke herself and her bizarre demand that others subsidize her promiscuous behavior, Mark Steyn has said what I think far better than I ever could.

    Today's verse

    And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    Mark 2:15-17 (KJV)

    Friday, March 09, 2012

    Reading list

    Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe.

    Today's verse

    And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

    Mark 2:1-12 (KJV)