Monday, August 27, 2007

Youth Ministry Network | Families Make Youth Happy

“In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and one’s children will have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

The results are in. What makes young people happy? According to a recent survey of 13- to 24-year-olds conducted by The Associated Press and MTV – it’s family. In case you missed the widely publicized results last week, here are the highlights:
† Spending time with family was listed as the number one thing that makes young people happy, followed by spending time with friends.
† 73% said their relationship with their parents make them happy
† When asked about heroes, half mentioned one of their parents.
† Nearly half say religion and spirituality are very important to their happiness.
† Hardly anyone said money makes them happy.

Jacqui Thone of the Youth Ministry Network writes, “As a mom, I’m thrilled to hear it. As someone who works with children, youth and families, I’m even more excited. What an opportunity to support parents in their very important role of faith nurturer and to look for ways to bring together families in our ministries. By working together with parents, we have a great opportunity to help our young people grow in faith and live the “abundant life,” that Christ claims for them.”

Are you surprised to know that you have so much influence on your children’s happiness? Our church wants to partner with you in being happy and blessed, especially through our confirmation, Sunday school, and youth ministries. For more information on the survey, go to

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Go West Young Dinosaur

My son set up this excellent dinosaur diorama. Just observe the dramatic tension, as well as the enigmatic placement of the flipping frog...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Flood Relief in Wisconsin | The Ministry of Lutheran Disaster Response


Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up. Psalm 69:15

With an opening prayer and these words from Scripture shared by Bishop Larson, representatives of Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) began a meeting on Wednesday, August 22, with ELCA pastors from the flooded areas of our region. Each pastor had a story to tell, of closed bridges and impassible roads, of flattened crops and lost cattle, of wet basements and evacuated towns, of individuals, families, congregations and whole communities at risk.

We are called to show Christ's love for these flood victims, regardless of their religion or background. Working on our behalf through Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Minnesota, LDR will provide:
1. Spiritual and emotional support for the whole community;
2. Hardship grants for those most vulnerable with acute needs;
3. Volunteer coordination (for example, LDR coordinated 34,000 volunteers who helped refurbish 9,200 homes after Hurricane Katrina); and
4. Case management to guide survivors through the process of recovery.
The clean-up after a disaster can take months and years. LDR provides long-term relief and recovery until the job is finished.

You can make a difference with:
" a donation marked "LDR" to support its four critical areas of work listed above
" a donation marked "Flood Relief" to support any other special needs that arise, such as flooded congregations in distress
" offers of volunteer labor with names and contact information, which LDR will match with an urgent need.
Please send these in care of: La Crosse Area Synod, ELCA, 3462 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse, WI 54601, or contact 608-788-5000 or For more information see Thank you.

(The above is available as a bulletin or newsletter insert at

Lutheran Disaster Response forwarded the following message this morning. VOLUNTEERS ARE NOW NEEDED to do clean-up for a day at a time (approx. 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). On Friday, Aug. 24, please report to the fire station in Gays Mills. On Saturday, Aug. 25, and following, please report to the Gays Mills Community Building at 212 Main St, Gays Mills. Bring rubber boots, rubber gloves, bleach and a pail; electric fans are also needed to help dry out homes. You will receive directions and a lunch. Volunteers should make sure their tetanus shots are current, due to the contaminated water.

NY Times Magazine | Political Theology

This is the most thorough examination of a straightforward theological topic that I've read in any major newspaper in recent years.

And I wish more books of theology I read had such spectacular photographs included along the way!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sinead O'Connor | Theology

Christianity Today has a superb essay on Sinead O'Connor's new album, Theology.

I probably nerd out and pay special attention to albums with theology in the title. I don't know of that many. There's Jonathan Rundman's Sound Theology. And there's a little gem of a song by Wilco, Theologians. But Sinead's title is legit- it's an album of theology, especially explorations of the Old Testament.

I think my favorite thing about the album so far is that she provides two versions of the songs, the Dublin set that is more acoustic, folky, and prayerful. And then the London sessions, with a fuller ensemble, more poppy in sound. That's a great concept for an album.

There's also a good amount of reggae inspiration.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sermon Titles and Texts for the September Theme | Hospitality

Overall topic: Hospitality

September 2- Are You Working for a Living or Living for Work?

Deuteronomy 24:17-22
1 Corinthians 12
Luke 19:1-10

September 9- Welcoming Strangers and Other Angels

Colossians 3:12-17
Ephesians 2:19-22
Hebrews 13:1-3
Mark 10:13-16

September 16- Jesus and Potlucks

Genesis 18:1-8
1 Corinthians 11:17-26
Luke 22:7-23

September 23rd- The Gospel Walks Out of Church

Isaiah 52:7-10
Colossians 4:2-6
John 13:3-20

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My First YouTube Video | East Koshkonong Lutheran Churches

I made this video today, and uploaded it to YouTube. I may try to turn it into a mini-historical series if I have the time and people are interested.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rainbow Connection

This is my first attempt to "embed" a video on Lutheran Confessions. A cover of Kermit seems as worthy as anything. This is Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Thanks to Zooglobble for the reference.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Spook Country | William Gibson

If you're a William Gibson fan (I admit that I am), you've been waiting a long time for this. It's finally here (review to be published soon). And thanks to my friendly neighborhood library, I had one of their first copies on the day of release!

In the meantime, you can read a great interview with Gibson at CNET.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Since there has been a lot of press on a recent statement from the Vatican, it seems like a good idea to remind all of us that the Lutheran confessions contain a section on the Power and Primacy of the Pope that pertains quite a bit to the debate. I commend your reading of it. I can't say that I'll have the time to launch a lengthy commentary, other than to mention that the Vatican statement hovers around the pope and papal authority, and in essence, we other communions cannot be considered churches in the proper sense precisely because we don't think of the power and primacy of the pope in the same way the Roman Catholic church does.

Bix 7 Finisher

Haven't posted much recently because I was away at confirmation camp, and the Saturday prior to that, I ran the Bix 7 with a friend. The Bix is definitely my favorite run, with the big start and end hill on the Mississippi, not to mention it being a tribute to a great jazz musician. Bix gets a rather long mention in Clive James' new book, Cultural Amnesia, which is probably one of the most unusual but fruitful books I've picked up from the library in recent days.