God’s Facebook and the Other One

Hark, TIME’s year-end cover sings “Zuckerberg is king of kings.” His FACEBOOK now makes us able To undo the Tower of Babel. Joyful, from all nations rise, Linked as friends through cyber skies. Near one billion at his fountain [“Zuckerberg” means sugar-mountain!] But with his sugar can you cook Recipes from God’s Facebook? I’m doubtful. I speak from hands-on ignorance–I’m …

Schleiermacher’s Theology of Christmas

Colleagues, For this week’s posting Matt Becker of Valparaiso University reviews a newly published edition of Schleiermacher’s 200-year-old classic on Christmas. For some of you this may be the first time you ever saw the name Schleiermacher. And even those who have seen it may still wonder how to pronounce it. [“Schlei” is English “shy” with an “l” in it. …

Christian Buddhist, Buddhist Christian?

Colleagues, In some Asian countries Jesus’ birthday (December 25) and Buddha’s birthday (the 8th day of the 4th month of the Chinese lunar calendar)–both of them–are national holidays. In such places Buddhists and Christians often “cross the aisle” to participate in their neighbors’ celebrations. Which may be a bit of a stretch to warrant my posting this Buddhist/Christian item just …

Gospel-grounded Church Leadership. A Case Study

Colleagues, Paul Marshall is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His seminary degree (1973) comes from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He once was a Lutheran. Primordially Lutheran, if the next sentence is really true. Namely, that way back in prep school–as I’ve been told–at the Missouri Synod’s junior college in Bronxville, New York, Paul and another …

Selections from Martin Luther for Advent.

Colleagues, At our breakfast devotions Marie and I continue to read from DAY BY DAY WE MAGNIFY THEE, “a collection of brief daily readings, arranged according to the Year of the Church and gathered from the writings of Luther.” Compiled and translated by Margarete Steiner and Percy Scott it first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1946 and in North …

Segue into Advent on Donated Righteousness

Colleagues, We were visiting our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids in suburban Chicago this past weekend. They’re members at Grace Lutheran, River Forest, Illinois, where we all showed up for the Sunday service. Besides being blessed with the liturgy and a super Christ-the-King homily from Pastor Bruce Modahl, there was frosting on the cake with a Sunday p.m. Eve-of-Advent cantata vespers …

Reflections on THE Gospel, Another Visit Downunder

Crossings Colleagues, Our house guest for a few days this week is Norman Habel, Aussie Wunderkind. His work could itself be the topic for this week’s Thursday Theology post, but it isn’t. Though if it were, I’d start out with this: Norm is a world-renowned OT scholar with a commentary on the Book of Job in the Westminster John Knox …

Christianity and Politics.

Colleagues, She’s back again. Who? Marie Failinger. This time–on the day after Luther’s 527th birthday–she reviews another book wherein Blessed Martin gets considerable attention, though she wishes the author had paid “closer” attention When Prof. Failinger is not treating us to such thoughtful analysis–as she also did just a fortnight ago with another Luther essay (ThTh 646)–she attends to her …

Homily for Reformation Day Celebration 2010

Colleagues, Five (or is it six?) small Lutheran congregations in rural southern Illinois gathered for a Reformation Day Festival last Sunday afternoon at St. John’s, Bremen, IL. A signal of Bremen’s modest size is that there’s no longer a Post Office in town. These congregations, as I understand it, are linked into a unique sort of consortium in the Central-Southern …

Luther’s Understanding of Law: Lex Charitatis, the Law of Love

Colleagues, For Reformation day weekend, a treat (no tricks). Law professor Marie Failinger reviews Reformation-scholar Gottfried Krodel’s just-published (finally!) English translation of Johannes Heckel’s classic study of Luther and the law. Originally published in 1953, Heckel’s book was “hot stuff” when I arrived for graduate study at the theological faculty at the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 1955. Both Failinger …