Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm Moving!!

I'm moving this blog to a (slightly) different location.

Please update your links and feed readers. This Feed should work for 30 days has been removed due to problems. Please visit the new site and re-subscribe using the buttons provided.

Thanks for moving with me!

Read the following only if you're really interested:

Why move? I started off at my congregation's website, using a Wordpress installation. Wordpress was good, but it was a little too hard to use, and certain things weren't working right. Furthermore, I wanted my blog to have some independence from the church's website. So I moved to this location.

However, I recently took another look at Wordpress and it is incredible. Stunning. They have updated and improved it tremendously. Still I was undecided if I wanted to mess with y'all's links.

The final straw was when I realized that my former web host was pretty slow and limited., apart from their tasteless commercials offers quite a bit of hosting muscle and tons of goodies and excellent features. So I moved my hosting there and am making it permament.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Clarification

Of course I should also say that while I am completely surprised at the election, I am confident that this was the will of God and that He will use this for the good of my salvation and for His glory.

I didn't mean to make it sound like a negative thing at all!

What Happened at the District Convention

So as Eric Brown first reported, the Oklahoma District Convention went differently than I had planned. I was elected 3rd Vice President of the District for a three-year term. For those who are unfamiliar with our denomination, the Synod is divided into districts, each with an elected District President, a pastor who is the ecclesiastical and administrative supervisor for the region. Districts are composed of circuits, which are groupings of seven or more congregations (think dioceses). the Oklahoma District is also divided into three regions, each composed of three circuits. I am the Vice President of the Western Region, and am charged with representing the District President in this region and generally administrating the area in his absence. All this is pretty broad and vague on purpose; I'll have to read the policy manual and the Synodical handbook to find out exactly what all my duties and responsibilities actually are.

A further distinction: the Oklahoma District Officers are all designated as part-time. Our District President is the parish pastor of Holy Trinity, Edmond, and will continue in his vocation there. We have no full-time district staff or offices, and this is a real blessing for our district.

Interestingly enough, Pr. Brown was elected Circuit Counselor of our circuit, who is the administrative officer for the circuit. Pr. Mason Beecroft was elected to the District Board of Directors. Congratulations to them!

I knew there was a possibility I would be elected as Circuit Counselor, and would have accepted that duty reluctantly. I had no idea that I would be elected to be a VP. I didn't desire it, and it did not fit into my life plan. Needless to say, I didn't lobby for it any way apart from allowing my name to stand on the slate and am still in a state of shock.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Where Did This Come From?

Two churches on a small Grecian island have the tradition of firing rockets at each other on Easter morning.

The video there is short, with quiet audio and is amazing!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

May the Force be with You...Lift Up Your Hearts...

Jack (age 2) found a picture from the original Star Wars movie that had fallen out of a book. It showed Han Solo and Chewbacca shooting at something. He was very intrigued.

"Who's this?" he asked.

"Han Solo and Chewie. From Star Wars," I answered.

"They shoot bad guys?"

"Yes, they're shooting bad guys."

"What is it?" he asked, unsure.

"Star Wars."

A long pause, then: "I want to see that!"

He's a little young for it. But the Clone Wars cartoon was on television, so I allowed him to watch it. Now everything is a light saber and bad guys are everywhere. A little too violent for me. I've banned it again.

But then yesterday he had a stick and, running up to me, said, "I have a light saber. I a pastor. I kill bad guys."

"A pastor? With a light saber?"

"Yes. I kill bad guys with my light saber. I a pastor." He paused. "I pastor and you mommy. Let's go get bad guys."

I think the Jedi robes remind him of what I wear on Sundays. Maybe he thinks I have a light saber in my pocket, just like Obi Wan in the cartoon.

I can let him think that.

OK District Convention


I'll be attending the Oklahoma District Convention Friday and Saturday in Norman, OK. We'll be electing a new presidium, as the current DP is retiring. My understanding is that we will also be electing a completely new slate of district officers, as the current ones did not wish to be re-elected either declined nominations or were not re-elected.

For those of you in the LCMS and in other districts, Oklahoma has a completely part-time district staff. It is a good situation.

Keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"In Thoughts from the Visions of the Night, When Deep Sleep Falleth on Men"

I suffer sleep paralysis. African-Americans call it "the witch riding your back," and they're right. It's a condition in which you wake from dreaming sleep, yet your body is still paralyzed. Awareness shifts from wakefullness back to dreaming sleep, and it is impossible to know if you are awake or dreaming. It's bad news. Sometimes I hear voices behind my back. My eyes are open, and I can move them, but not my head to turn and see who is talking. Some people report hearing monsters/boogymen/mass muderers threatening them, but they cannot get up to run. The witch riding your back indeed.

Sometimes these episodes lead into, or out of "false awakenings," when I dream that I wake, get up and start to go about, and then suddenly find myself paralyzed on the couch.

It happens most often when I'm napping, which these days usually only happens on Sunday afternoons. While I can't move or speak during an episode, I can "breathe funny," like Morse Code, and if M is around, she wakes me up. Mostly I've learned to relax and ease myself back into regular sleep and hope I can wake normally after that. It never happens at night. Once or twice when I have slept-in really, really late it has happened.

It's all very Matrix-like. Except it is scary and doesn't involve dodging bullets.

There all many myths to explain this sensation. Most cultures believed ghosts were sitting on the afflicted. Interestingly, if you are of the Hmong people, it may kill you. The rest of us seem to be immune from this fatality.

I'm not going to tie this in with something spiritual. But there are plenty of implications. Enjoy.

Book Review: Christianity in Crisis

Hank Hanegraaff's Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century is an eye-opening expose of how heretical and corrupt the modern batch of “Word of Faith” popularity preachers have become. Hanegraaff bars no holds on televangelists and mega-preachers such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and the entire TBN Network. The book well-researched—a necessity for the kinds of accusations that the author levies against the heretical teachers. He quotes liberally from television shows and phone interviews, from book and pamphlets, newspapers and magazines. Sometimes the book is repetitive, but the reader can easily pass over arguments and accusations that he repeats from section to section.

For those who do not regularly watch charismatic, word-of-faith, prosperity Gospel shows or read their books, Hanegraaff reveals there is much more to them than simply asking for money. In chapter after chapter, Hanegraaff exposes tri-theism, Adoptionism, Arianism, Dualism rampant in “teachers” such as Creflo Dollar, Frederick Price, T D Jakes, John Hagee, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen and many more. The author also traces their “word of faith” teachings to New Age “reality-creating” teachings.

Hanegraaff does miss a few beats here and there. He is very uncomfortable with the Apostle's Creed confession of the descent into hell. While the preachers Hanegraaff exposes misinterpret the purpose of Christ's descent into hell as one of suffering, the author dismisses any positive interpretation of the event as the Harrowing of Hell. Likewise, the heretics the author attacks preach a gross and gnostic kind of apotheosis, but Hanegraaff seems ill-suited to contrast this with the Mormon doctrine—and with the Orthodox doctrine of theosis. In sections were the author advocates for a more traditional doctrine, his approach is a little too fundamentalist for my taste, but this is a small quibble.