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Numbering the Stars While Caring for Those Who Can’t

Psalm 147
1Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
4He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
5Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
6The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground.
7Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.
8He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills.
9He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry.
10His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
12Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you.
14He grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
16He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes.
17He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold?
18He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances. Praise the Lord!

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Lament. Denounce. Hope. Serve.

“Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
So, tells Matthew in 2:7-8, said King Herod to the wise men after learning from them that the king of the Jews had been born.

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Remember, Re-Member, Re-Imagine

“Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.”  Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture, Hope, Despair and Memory

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Posted on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

Delightful Packing

The below entry was published last Sunday in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.  My hyper linking is not doing what it should do, so the link for it is simply splayed out here:  http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2016/05/14/madsen-when-you-take-only-what-delights-can-freeing/84341626/

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Kaj Munk: Martyr, Mentor of Epiphanic Recklessness

What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer: “Faith, hope, and love”? That sounds beautiful. But I would say–courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature…we lack a holy rage–the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth…a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God’s earth, and the destruction of God’s world. To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish…but never the chameleon.
Call committees, when sketching out a profile for their next pastor, are awfully drawn to words like these: kind, available, comforting, pastoral, articulate, flexible, intelligent, dynamic, wise, knowledgable, organized, trust-worthy, confident.

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The More-or-Less Fourth Annual-esque Repost of My Holden Caulfield “Old Jesus probably would’ve puked if He could see it” Blog

This morning, I found myself trolling some earlier blogs I wrote about Advent and Christmas, trying to remember what thoughts I have had about them in the past (I have lots of thoughts, but can hold on to only one or two at a time).

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Posted on July 3, 2015 in Race

Dreaming New Dreams

Last night I dreamt that Patrick Stewart strolled by me, wearing an intensely colored plaid pair of pants and a snazzy golf beret. He took one look at me walking along the same sidewalk, and realized that I positively screamed Lutheran Theologian.

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Posted on April 22, 2015 in OMG in the News

New Life at OMG

Those of you who have read some of my blogs or have heard some of my presentations know that I have a thing for new life.

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Posted on June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

RSS Subscription Change

OMG recently changed its RSS feed. If you’d like to keep receiving blog posts delivered to your inbox, please update your subscription/subscribe here:

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Posted on November 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Second Annual Holden Caulfield Post

So I’ve already seen defiant-gauntlet-thrown-in-the-sand warnings on FB that if I want to say Merry Christmas to you even if you’re a Jew/Wiccan/Muslim/Buddhist/Agnostic, that you darn better deal with it.

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Posted on September 26, 2012 in Ash Wednesday, Holy Spirit

Shall I eat a peach? Just maybe I will, while I sit here still.

5:45 comes to me by way of pre-set coffee calling me out of bed, giving me some moments of solitary quiet before the family clamor, not to mention my own clamor, begins: the clamor for mama, for wife, for cereal, for laundry, for bills, for blogs, for groceries, for homework help, for supper, for tomorrow’s lunches, and then finally the calmer clamor of bedtime stories and husband-time, outside, perhaps by a fire, with a glass of wine as the day turns dark.

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Posted on June 28, 2012 in Death and Dying

"She did what she could do"

On another note, one of my mentors, Murray Haar, at the peak of craziness post-accident, told me that one of his favorite NT tales is of the woman who anointed Jesus.

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Today’s SCOTUS Affordable Act decision, faith, and politics

John Westerhoff wrote:
“Stewardship is what we do after we say we believe, that is, after we give our love, loyalty, and trust to God, from whom each and every aspect of our lives comes as a gift. As members of God’ s household, we are subject to God’ s economy or stewardship, that is, God’ s plan to reconcile the whole world and bring creation to its proper end.” (Grateful and Generous Hearts, Atlanta: St. Luke’s Press, 1997, p. 20.)
I know that I’ve blogged about Westerhoff’s words before.

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Posted on April 1, 2012 in Biblical Interpretation, Easter, Epiphany, Joy

Umbrella Men and Palm Branches

In December, 1967, John Updike was writing “Talk of the Town” for the New Yorker, and he spent most of that “Talk of the Town” column talking about the “Umbrella Man.”  He said that his learning about the existence of the Umbrella Man made him speculate that in historical research, there may be a dimension similar to the quantum dimension in physical reality.  If you put any event under a microscope, you will find a whole dimension of completely weird, incredible things going on.  It’s as if there’s the macro level of historical research, where things sort of obey natural laws and usual things happen and unusual things don’t happen, and then there’s other level where everything is really weird.
My father sends me an awful lot of good stuff for blog ponderings.  Far too long ago, he sent me a link to a New York Times video about the Umbrella Man.  It’s a short film by Errol Morris, an interview with Josiah “Tink” Thompson, quoted above.  He’s an academic-become-gumshoe, and while not all people agree with his methods or his madness, he raises curious questions, and I like people who raise curious questions.

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Anne Rice Redux

Question: It may be semantics, but leaving church and leaving congregational religion may not be the same.  Consider–if I woman has been for whatever reasons in abusive marriage(s) and decides that marriage is not a good thing, that is not a declaration that all men are bad, but a declaration that marriage is not the way she chooses to relate to men.  It may be that people who leave congregations/church (one word for both in their mind) are seeking a different way to relate to God.

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Can Grace Really Be Pulled out of the Fire? Scary Matthew 13.

Anna- curious of your understanding of Matthew 13:36-43.  Is this really telling of a one time judgement and not an eternal one?  I was thinking of our conversation at Outlaw Ranch this past week.  It sounds pretty eternal to me.

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"Rarely, will anyone die for a righteous person." The Impracticality of Jesus' Death

The problem I see every day amongst Christians is the inability to find a more practical explanation to those of us who don’t quite understand the meaning of giving up your only son to save a bunch of sinners. Why would anyone do that? And worse: no matter what kind of crook you’ve been your whole life,  just accept such a travesty and you secured a spot in heaven. And I’m supposed to reason with that?????  Come on!!!

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Posted on May 5, 2011 in Hope

Corinthian Juleps

Ten-year old (ostensibly) Virginia Cary Hudson wrote  O Ye Jigs & Juleps! in 1904.

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Being Taken on an Adventure

adventure (n.) early 13c., auenture “that which happens by chance, fortune, luck,” from O.Fr. aventure (11c.) “chance, accident, occurrence, event, happening,” from L. adventura (res) “(a thing) about to happen,” from adventurus, future participle of advenire “to come to, reach, arrive at,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + venire “to come” (see venue). Meaning developed through “risk/danger” (a trial of one’s chances) and “perilous undertaking” (early 14c.) and thence to “a novel or exciting incident” (1560s). The -d- was restored 15c.-16c. Venture is a 15c. variant. As a verb, c.1300, “to risk the loss of;” early 14c. “to take a chance.”

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Sacred pissiness

I just finished reading a review of Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America. You can find the link here. If you’re wondering why you’ve heard of Barbara Ehrenreich before, your memory is tingling because she wrote the notable book Nickle and Dimed.

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Anne Rice not a Church-goer … then she is … now she's not …. What's up?

In light of Anne Rice’s recent announcement that she is leaving Christianity but holding onto Christ I am pondering the following:
What does it mean to react to vs respond to the Gospel, to God, to Christ, to Christianity?
What are the parallels, if any, between Anne Rice and the stance taken by Martin Luther centuries ago?
What does it mean to ‘leave’ a doctrine?

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A Brief, Cursory, Abridged, Compressed, Abbreviated, Thumbnail Sketch of the Evolution of Scripture

You’ve touched on this before, but could you go into further depth about how the bible was assembled and exactly what it is supposed to be? For instance is every word directly from God or did he just give the writer some guidelines? How were the books chosen? How were they ordered? Why are the catholic bibles and the NKJ versions different? I know, lots of questions, but I’m curious!

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Hunches, hopes, hints about grace

Question: If we are saved by God’s grace and yet we continue to turn our back on God, i.e., we don’t practice our faith, we don’t pray, we don’t read God’s word, we continue to repeat the same sins over and over, etc. if we die are we saved or did we fall short of God’s grace? Ref: Hebrews 10:26-31
__________________________

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Posted on June 9, 2010 in Christianity, Homosexuality, Sin, Stewardship

One more thing

There’s another key element to both my recent post on marriage, and my recent post on homosexuality, that I haven’t raised in the blog yet–I think. (I have been known to repeat myself, particularly when I’m fretting or impassioned about something, as I am about the way in which we speak about homosexuality in the Church.)

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Posted on April 27, 2010 in Christianity, God's Relevancy, Judaism, Reader Questions

Is God just laughing at our expense?

Question:  Why doesn’t God make things more evident, such as important life and death decisions, or directions to take in life or in ministry.  I’m not saying that God would do so with miraculous signs or anything, but why not at some point in the process of trying to figure out the next best step, at least tip his hand a little.  Does God enjoy sitting back and watching us screw things up?

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ELCA conversation about homosexuality

Question:  Hi! was wondering if you had an opinion on the whole gay minister thing, particularly re: the editorial yesterday;03/03/2010 in the Argus Leader from Lutheran minister who equated the issue to the rebellion of Lucifer; wanting to place his throne above God’s throne.

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Technology and Religion

Question: As we live an work in a society of technology how can we bring worship into this realm?  Religion seems to be the one area in many people’s lives where there very little modernization in comparison to the rest of society.  Google has brought the whole world to our finger tips.  Can church as we know it continue to exist in a modern based society?

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Does Paul care about and move us toward justice?

Question: A thought I gleaned from someone else: Remember for a moment the prophets, critiquing Israel’s priests: it’s not animals and blood upon the altar that God desires, it’s a broken and contrite heart, righteousness in our hearts and in our relationships.  (Gross oversimplification, I know – but I think mostly accurate.)  Fast-forward to Paul, who often interprets Christ’s death and resurrection in terms of God’s demand for some sort of satisfaction for our sins.  Hence, our ideas about substitutionary atonement, with lots of emphasis on Jesus blood as payment for our sins.  Question: Does this move that Paul makes make it a little harder for Christians to hear the call of those prophets, and God’s desire for hearts broken by injustice and cruelty?  From the perspective of one who has a tough time ‘sticking’ to substitutionary atonement, I’d be curious to hear your reflections on other ways to interpret the meaning of the cross.  (That’s your field, right?)

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Who should go forward for Communion?

Question:  My sister-in-law grew up Bapist (she’s from GA). She didn’t receive communion with us during a visit to MN-she explained due to her thoughts, words, deeds.  I told her that’s the best time to go and mentioned Eph 2:8-10. She came back to me with James 2:14-19.  So what do I say to a Baptist PK that responds as such with my Lutheran background?

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Posted on January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

OMG Blog

The OMG Blog is the place for engagement in a wide range of topics. We strive to keep the content true to our purpose, to pursue a conversation of theological knowledge and relevancy. If you have submitted a question, you may see it posted here; so check back again if you don’t see it now. No guarantees, but it might go live.

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