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    New Year Resolutions Old Year Problems | Headlines with the Pastors, E7

    The Pastors look at pulling the shade on New Years Resolutions in favor of Godly aspirations. Then, more seriously they address the Jeffery Epstein connected madam Maxwell who was recently convicted of sex trafficking while also unpacking how Christ can heal the wounds of sexual violence and violation. Finally, a look at the Christian life lived between the Sundays, from the Father’s Temple to the Baptismal enlightenment of Epiphany.

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    Build Back Better Burger-Bill Butchered, Nickin’ the Santa Claus | Headlines with the Pastors, E6

    Part two of the highly controversial Build Back Better bill kicks the can…for now, the Myth of Santa Clause and the Legend of Saint Nicholas, we laugh thru some ridiculous Christmas headlines concerning cream cheese and arson, before looking at the Christian life lived between the Sundays—it’s our Christmas show and you’re invited! 0:00 Introduction 5:52 Build Back Better Nothin’ Burger 28:13 Cheesecake No Bake and Arson, EXTRA EXTRAS 43:21 Good Ol’ Fake Nick 1:01:43 True Meaning of Christmas

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    The Rittenhouse Ripple Effect, Cyber Monday, and Advent Preparations | Headlines with the Pastors Ep. 04

    The Rittenhouse ripple effect is a manufactured reality that the Christian must take note of as media perpetuates cultural thought and people imitate what is perceived as justice. The pastors also briefly chat about Christian mindfulness in holiday shopping and what ringing in the new Church Year— in the season of Advent— is all about! 

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    HWTP Ep3: Kyle Rittenhouse Guilty or Not | SpaceX Pros and Cons

    Today the pastors talk about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and take from it important lessons for the Christian. Then, into the atmosphere to discuss how a SpaceX Astronaut proclaims the glory of docking with the International Space Station, which makes should make us wonder, what glories should the Christian praise? And finally, the Pastors look at the Christian life lived between the Sundays, and how our End Times theology encourages us to endure in Jesus with hope!

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    HWTP Ep2: Two Kingdoms, One Lord, and a Zero Credit Score

    In today’s episode, the pastors discuss recent supply chain issues from God’s view that work is one of his first beautiful gifts to us. Afterward, they take a look at the recent elections that flooded the headlines, giving a Christian guiding perspective through the Two Kingdom Theology principle. Lastly, the viewers hear about their life between the Sundays and what Word of God is in store for them as they prepare to return to the House of the Lord. All credit goes to Christ, his kingdom has come and he will come again!

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    HWTP Ep1: Should Christians Enter the Metaverse?

    Our first episode has the pastors, Jared DeBlieck and David Dunlop, unpacking what this podcast is all about, addressing Facebook’s Metaverse, or should we say Meta’s Metaverse, and ends looking at the reality of life often overshadowed by celebrity.

    • Christian Compassion or Contempt for Migrants
    • Why Should Christians Care About California's Rolling Power Outages? | Headlines with the Pastors, E22
    • We The People | Roe v Wade Deep Dive Special Episode | Headlines with the Pastors, E21
    • Has Google Created a Living Artificial Intelligence? | Headlines with the Pastors, E20
    • Why Can't Nancy Pelosi Take Communion? Closed Communion Explained | Headlines with the Pastors, E19

  • Culture,  Uncategorized

    Worship Woes: A Return from Quarantine

    When the quarantines began to shut down schools then states, then the nation at large, it’s no surprise that churches were caught up in the crushing wave of the COVID crisis. Many have taken the possible instances of First Amendment overreaches by offering the other cheek–permitting a time of online worship until the day congregants can gather once more. Or, at least with fewer restrictions. Those days seem to be drawing near, and for some states, that day is here, such as for my state of Indiana.

    The idea of not gathering, in person, for worship is something Christians should not take lightly. We are incarnational people, in the flesh kind of people, we relate best to each other as we encounter one another in person. The reason for this truth is that this is how Jesus encounters and best relates to us. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).”

    Jesus’ advent into his creation as a child who grows in the humility of the flesh through wisdom and stature (Cf. Luke 2:52) makes evident how we by the same frail flesh make sense of God and this world. But as we interact with this Living Word by live-streaming worship and social distancing it is worth wondering with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord (Cf. Psalm 13)?” How long until we can come back into the house of God’s presence in Church and rejoice in the calling of the Holy Spirit to gather together in the flesh for worship and reception of all of God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament?

    What I feared at the beginning of this quarantine is already beginning to rumble through social media and a diversity of personal exchanges: people do not want to go back to worship. This could be for a variety of reasons, none of which do I claim to know for certain, but among them is fear of the virus and satisfaction with current worship practice: online, drive-in, or nothing at all. I want to address in particular the satisfaction with current quarantine worship practices by speaking to the importance of in flesh worship and life.

    The exchange of God’s gifts and discipline have always been delivered in the flesh. When God spoke to his people it was through Moses and the Prophets, and now in these last days through Jesus, the Son of God (Cf. Hebrews 1:2). And these words are not merely transmitted by Books or Letter of the Apostles but are taught by pastors to this day. It doesn’t speak to the weakness of God’s Word that doctrine is handed down this way but to the fact that God’s Word is unchanging and true ministers of the Gospel still speak God’s Word as Moses and the Prophets and as Jesus and his Apostles.

    The blessed gifts of the Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, were not relayed from a transcendent voice from heaven but given to the Christian Church from Jesus as he came to his people. The Mediator met with his people, in the flesh, and gave to us what is necessary for salvation.

    Likewise, the necessary use of discipline is a person to a person matter. When St. Paul addressed Cephas for his sin, he “opposed him to his face… (Galatians 2:11)” and when we stand condemned for sin we confess before God and one another our sin (Confession and Absolution in the Divine Service). We confess before our pastor all the sins we are aware of (Individual Confession and Absolution), and we confess our sin as others confront us according to the discipline of Matthew 18.

    Worshiping together lends itself to the way we live together. Our way of worship has been disrupted so our way of life together has been disturbed. This time can be an opportunity for reflection upon the goodnesses of God’s presence among us but it cannot be an excuse to claim a new normal. The ordinaries of worship and life should not be forsaken because we have come to crave something outside their usual practice, worship: online, drive-in, or not at all.

    If something can be learned among Christians as we return from quarantine let it be the joy of our incarnational nature in Christ with one another, and a general caution toward novelty.

  • Culture,  Reason,  Religion,  Uncategorized

    American’t

    It’s the day after U.S. elections and the country seems stunned. The divisive campaigns are over (for now) and much work is in store for President-Elect Trump and elected officials across the nation. Evident is the genuine relief or incomprehensible tension that exists in the aftermath of it all. The tie that binds us as Americans seems to be the divide and visceral fear of the unknown. Uncertainty has, oddly enough, been the certain outcome of this political cycle. Whoever was to win the Oval Office inevitably would receive a plague of scrutiny.

    Social media rages with with tyrannical monologues of plebeians and pop stars, pundits and politicians, of how disappointed in America they are right now. The narrative is mixed, even at times toting overtones of racism by white males. Was this the election of prejudice? Did the people, the communities who elected Barack Obama twice, bump their heads and wake up racist? Xenophobic? Homophobic? Unlikely. Clintophobic? Maybe.

    [Insert post election line here:] Regardless of your political party, like or dislike of either major candidate, we’re sure glad it’s over. An awkward but collective sigh of relief comes as we now get back to the frequent Viagra commercials and as one person put it, people posting about their dinner not the debate on Facebook.

    Still, the vitriol Americans have shown each other is undeniable. You can’t blame either candidate; like saying a gun kills people or that the devil made me do it. No, the hatred is finally yours, and if I’m able to take the log out of my own eye, mine too. The sentiment of disappointment and disapproval for the fellow man is intensified, even made visibly clear during an election. But truth be told, it burns even if only remaining kindled, while we wait between elections, protests, Supreme Court cases, you name it. The reaction today by many is American’t, but folks it can, does, and will continue. The America you want can’t be the America you get. We each must deal with the compromise that is called America, along with her elections and opportunities is defeat and misfortune.

    I will not say that we live in a country that no matter who holds the presidency we will be well off. That hasn’t held true. We can say that, as Americans, our prosperity is unlike many other places around the globe. But what we can’t say is that, as Americans, it is just as well for us to take this for granted.

    The certainty of uncertainty, and the unity we have in being divided is not a glowing reality we like to face, but it is fact. A one trip ticket to Canada solves nothing, neither does making a candidate your savior. I submit to you that Christianity has the answer to this uncertainty and a true unity for the divided. Jesus came to uncertain, compromised, people. People completely lost in sin and disheveled division. As the true Savior he shows you a better country, a heavenly home.

    But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.–Hebrews 11:16

    Christ is different from our usual suspects, our politicians and us common Joes, he’s perfect. In a world caught up with moving forward, making progress, and gaining the upper hand; Jesus is content with being brought low, made a fool on the cross, and being crucified in hand and foot. Jesus gives us the way to life, not the false utopia of 270. If you want to be certain and yearn after unity, look no further than Jesus. But does’t Jesus make bold claims? Doesn’t Jesus call sins of what is so commonly accepted? How is he any different? How does he make certain the weak and unify the broken? Easy, Jesus is risen from the dead, True God and True Man, perfect and pure. And the best part is this, his grace is sufficient for you for his power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). No vote of yours sways his love for you, no sin too unforgivable for Jesus, no people too nasty or deplorable to save. To this I say, amen.

  • Uncategorized

    Madness in the Making

    the_rakes_progress_8I’ve been blogging for awhile now, not consistently by any stretch of the imagination. It all began around my junior year in high school, I was 17. A momentous change swept into my life, not by choice but out of necessity. I was engulfed in a worship war, the year was 2005.

    I belonged to the ELCA and a church whose people, even the ones I would come to disagree with, were my people. My people because they shared with me the bonds of friendship and churchly fellowship. I had grown to love church out of a reverence to Christ. One ought to give a rip about the Christ who died for us, I figured, otherwise what good is Christianity? The Bible must be true, I figured, otherwise what good is the Christ who thought so himself? Thank goodness my Lutheran family believes at least these things, I figured, otherwise what good is Lutheranism?

    I figured wrong.

    Lutheranism burned me, at least the Lutheranism I had come to know my whole life. Before the meteoric rise of all things sexual, and our present culture of all things sexual are permissible, the ELCA was on the cutting edge. Already pushing beyond the unbiblical ordination of women, my congregation took to vote on the acceptance of homosexual clergy. A topic that by today’s standard is passé. An already heated topic was clearly news to me.

    I was unaware, completely naive. I thought again about how my pastors (husband and wife) would certainly address this matter. I figured there must be an explanation, perhaps a Biblical explanation, otherwise what good is a pastor who cannot or will not speak God’s clear word on this matter?

    Again, I figured wrong.

    The madness was not that the vote split the church or that the pastors did little to speak God’s word on the matter. The madness was that we voted at all on a clearly Biblical mandate that forbids homosexual practice. Clearly, I understood, that Jesus died for that sin and a wealth of mine own, so what gives? Why shy away or cower? I realize now what I could not comprehend then, timidity and fear were not of the equation. Perhaps they beckoned in the background but only in relation to their support and desire to advance the acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy.

    I guess I should be forthright, my shock at such an event was really a deep sorrow and anger. What else did I not know?

    I didn’t know the ELCA’s doctrinal position on God’s Word or even what the Book of Concord was at the least. I assumed God’s Word was authoritative and that we confessed it openly and honestly. I assumed we all were sinners justified by Christ alone. I did not expect that some sins would be dismissed like homosexuality, or that Hell was more of a concept and less of a reality. I was unaware that I was wrong, and those hyper-conservative nut jobs in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) were right. (Yes I was really taught that.)

    The story of my blogging began soon after an LCMS pastor took the time to dispel my worries over spoiled Lutheranism, correct my refuge in fundamentalism (Baptist), and gave me an open door to talk theology. He fielded a lot of questions. Blogging was my outlet of all I was learning. Those were the days many blogged on Xanga. Fast forward to my seminary years, another time of great learning and insight. I began a blog called Rubric, with a mild following, I addressed the matter of Christian Formation and the crucial role liturgy plays in the success of such education. I enjoyed it, but when I received my call as pastor I wanted to rethink my creative outlet and allow time to develop into the Office of Holy Ministry. Now, approaching my two year anniversary and with the state of affairs our country and culture is in silence is no longer an option. The madness, the audacity, to stand up to the vicious vipers of nay sayers and haters of Christ is sorely needed. We must speak up.

    Rubrica is that reimagined outlet, to speak Christ (however mild a following) to a pagan practicing, culturally corroded, and Christologically weak people. Look for serious and fun articles, and many series: Lyrical Lies, The Yellow Journalist, Warriors and Wimps, Idiotic Idioms, Meaningless Words, and much more.

    Rubrica’s first official article is set to launch on July 6th, the anniversary of my ordination and installation as a pastor in the LCMS. Join me in the madness, the sanity of Christianity. Let the rubrications begin!