“What Time Is It?” (A Sermon Suited for New Year’s Day)

Colleagues, The Rev. Lars Olson is today’s contributor. I haven’t met him, and can tell you nothing about him beyond those things you can read for yourself at the website of First Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he serves as an associate pastor. First Lutheran is a large ELCA congregation with enough oomph to broadcast its Sunday services. …

Angles on Angels, and on Genuine Christmas Peace

Colleagues, First: If you haven’t signed on yet for next month’s Crossings conference, consider doing so this week. Call it a Christmas gift to yourself, if that helps. The topic is pressing, as are the speakers I’ll get to introduce as keynoter for the event. Because of their readiness to pitch in, we’re able to offer that rarity of treats …

A Call for Reformation as a Church Year Dawns

Colleagues, Advent launched again last Sunday to do for the Christian world as the days surrounding January 1st do for the secular one. Four days in, it’s tugging eyes toward the future in a move that also drives a reappraisal of the present. The word we use in church for “reappraisal” is “repentance.” We’ll hear about that these next two …

“Will No One Have the Guts to be a Sinner?” —Preface and Ur-text

Colleagues, The congregation I serve is going to celebrate the Reformation this coming Sunday. So will lots of other Lutheran churches in the U.S., and elsewhere too. Whether and how joyfully they do it will depend heavily on their pastors’ opinions about the merits of what happened in 1517 and thereafter, and, more to the point, about the value of …

War Can’t Be Just. Listen to the Veterans

Colleagues, We’re six days away from this year’s Veteran’s Day observance. It bears remembering that the day first appeared on calendars as Armistice Day, recalling that eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when the armies stopped shooting on the Western Front. This past summer I listened to an audio recording of Barbara Tuchman’s The …

A Christian Approach to Interfaith Relations

Colleagues, Today’s offering comes from Steven Kuhl, Executive Director of the Crossings Community. Steve has spent much of his working career as a pastor and professor in Greater Milwaukee, where he also serves as a member of the Unity and Relations Commission of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. In that capacity, he worked with four others to craft a document …

Three Distinctions to Make when Reading the Bible

Colleagues, I began the last post (#860, September 10) by announcing a formal change in Thursday Theology’s publication schedule, from weekly to bi-weekly. I start today by adding a clarification about the purpose for this exercise. It’s long overdue. In fact I can’t recall that anyone has ever spelled it out in all the seventeen years that Thursday Theology has …

“Third Use,” Round Two. A Citation from Luther

Colleagues, I start today by announcing a formal change in Thursday Theology. A weekly post, which has not been so weekly of late, is shifting to a biweekly format. I discussed this with other members of the Crossings Board when we met last month, pointing out that gifts granted to Thursday Theology’s first author and editor, Ed Schroeder, were not …