Theology for Third Graders on the Cusp of Christmas

Colleagues, The congregation I serve is one of the very few in the ELCA that operates an elementary school. It’s a legacy of our roots in the LCMS, one for which we continue to thank God. Of late we see it emerging more and more as a mission field, in sharp distinction to an older identity as the fold in …

Werner Elert on Truth, and Why It Matters

Colleagues, Ed Schroeder enriches us all this week with a timely gem from Werner Elert, the great 20th century Lutheran theologian with whom he studied at the University of Erlangen, and who he later introduced to a phalanx of his own students, the undersigned among them. I continue to wish that Elert’s books were more accessible than they are to …

Post-Election Conversation; the January Seminar

Colleagues, Responses rolled in to the post of two weeks ago about the election of Mr. Trump. I send you a selection of them today. It’s as close as we’re able to come to conversation about such things within this reading-and-writing community that I spoke of in the post. Unless, of course, one makes a trip to the annual Crossings …

The necessity of Christ for his Christians, post-election

Colleagues, I foist on you some thoughts that have either screamed or simmered in my head through the hours since Tuesday. If you voted for Mr. Trump, there is much you will not like. Those who voted for Mrs. Clinton may also object along the way. Still, that you’re reading this at all presumes a common loyalty to Christ our …

Justification by Faith at Ground Level (An Example)

Colleagues, I’ve been working on a couple of essays these past few weeks. The writing comes slowly. Too slowly, I fear, to satisfy anybody’s reasonable expectations of timely posts. I hope one of them will be ready for you in a day or two. Meanwhile we find ourselves in the waning hours of another Reformation Day. There were big doings …

An Assortment of Readers’ Responses

Colleagues, Every now and then one of you will send me a note about something you read in the latest post. I stash these away as they come in, now and then flagging an item that ought to be shared more widely. Here are a few from the current collection. +  +  + 1. Late in June you got a …

Two Questions for the Baptized Person (Part Three of a Keynote Address)

Colleagues, My younger daughter gets married this Saturday and expects her dad to come through with a sermon. So with that overwhelmingly in mind, I send along today’s installment without prefatory ado. What you’re getting is the third and final installment of my keynote address at the Crossings conference last January. You’ll need to have scanned the first two parts …

An Approach to “Discerning the Spirit” (Part Two of a Keynote Address)

Colleagues, Last week you got the first part of my address to the Crossings conference last January. In the course of introducing the overall topic and the several speakers involved, I did a riff of sorts on the core issue—the conundrum, as I called it—that thinkers of a Lutheran confessional bent keep returning to. There is Gospel, and there is …

The Confounding Gospel (Part One of a Keynote Address)

Colleagues, My turn. Yes, doubtless you’re weary of hearing about the Crossings conference in Belleville last January, and of course the papers delivered there are available for perusing on the Crossings website. But why would you think to go looking for them? And why, when what we heard was such good stuff, should I deprive you of the chance to …