Archive for February 20th, 2014

P1020383Now that I have your attention! This past week was college tour time with our youngest. I took the photo above during our college tour of William and Mary College(W and M), founded 1693, second oldest college in our nation, in Williamsburg, VA.  W and M is a state school. Our tour group is in the picture.  Needless to say, I was struck by the poster in the foreground.  Thomas Jefferson was a graduate of W and M.  The main building, designed by Christopher Wren, is the oldest college building in the USA and it has a chapel in it.  Maybe you heard the controversy of cross on the altar which is considered offensive to other religions.  It was decided to move the cross to the side and put it in a glass case, as a kind of an artifact:

Wren Chapel cross

Unusual for a college tour, we had two tour guides, a sophomore and a freshman. When we went to see a dorm room,   the very perky freshman explained that at the beginning of the year, her floor gathered together to set rules for themselves by a process of “self-determination”.  She thought this kind of awesome.


Three pieces of a puzzle:

  1. “I love female orgasm”
  2. Cross in  a glass case
  3. “Self-determination”

Oh, and one more piece of the puzzle:

4. Twice during the tour, we were regaled with the highlight of the year at W and M which is in December, ostensibly the Christmas season:  the yule log ceremony.  Every year a large “yule log”, a big piece of timber is brought in. Every participant in the ceremony is given a sprig of evergreen with which they strike the yule log, for “good luck” and then it is thrown into the fire to “burn away all our worries” over the upcoming final exams.  Then the President of this prestigious college is dressed up as Santa Claus and he reads “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.  And they say there is no religion in a state school!

Back to the puzzle pieces and you have probably put them together.  Note, that in the bulletin board poster, orgasm is singular, well, as if the female orgasm is substitute for say, Jesus, as in “I love Jesus”. It’s all about SELF-determination.  It’s all about ourselves in the yule ceremony. Christianity is an artifact. Yes, there is religion at this state college and it is the religion of the mirror:  the self and the sacrament of the self is uninhibited and ‘free’ coitus.  The self rules in the self-confident omni-competent culture  which gives us everything we need:  from toilets to smartphones to air travel.  Christian religion can get in the way of  that…or should.  Religion itself, especially Christianity, is assimiliated to the society to go with the flow.  

As the Church, we too are recipients of the technological marvels of our time…as was the Church in the time of the great technological marvels of the Roman Empire.  Then and now, something is missing, actually Someone and then the elites wonder about the rise of rape, murder and suicide.

The Christians of the medieval age, the so called dark age, started universities and colleges recognizing in humility the great gifts the Creator bestowed upon us to be taught and learned.   But when that humility goes…

Two more observations from college tours:

  1. At the University of Richmond (Richmond VA), founded by the Baptist church (but no longer associated with the Baptists) at one point in the tour, our able junior tour guide said we are at the heart of the campus.  “There is the Science building, over their the dining hall…”, etc…except right behind him was the sizable Gothic style Chapel, on possibly the highest point of the University of Richmond, but he did not mention that white elephant behind him.
  2. A few years ago, my wife went with our daughter to tour nearby Roanoke College, Salem, VA.  This is a Lutheran college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the college is the second oldest Lutheran college in the nation. The Virginia Synod  of the ELCA has it’s offices in the old chapel on campus as they built a larger one some thirty of so years ago.  On their tour, when it was question time, my wife  asked for verification of the fact known to her that Roanoke is a Lutheran school.  The  guide responded that yes, it was, but (don’t worry) you’d never know it.

Will our colleges and universities know the Church is there?  There are many orthodox Lutheran campus ministers and ministries fighting the good fight. Pray for them and support them.  We are living in the post-Christendom era.  Sometimes we have to fight the vestiges of a Christianity and it’s distortions  of the doctrine in the Bible.  Never the less…

The Gospel lesson for this Sunday (7th Sunday after the Epiphany, 2/23/14) is St. Matthew 5:38-48 in which our Lord teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those persecute us.  Unlike, say Cairo, Egypt or Saudi Arabia, none of us have ever been slapped in the face or our clothes stolen off our backs or our church buildings burned to the ground.  Yet He calls us to love our enemies,  and the cultured despisers of  the Faith, that is, serve them as He has loved and served us who have been  His enemies…of God ( Romans 5:10).  Now we must point out the false teaching of many and not put up with it but with love and service to those in the universities and colleges and we can do it in only way: In Christ Jesus. And so who will believe if we  point the finger at them and not point them to the Savior? I close with verses from this Sunday’s Gospel and Dr. Paul Kretzmann’s commentary (1924):

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. The injunction receives its application at all times and in all places. The impressiveness of the passage is heightened by the contrast presented in each member of the saying. Cursing is met with blessing; hatred, which leads to injuries, with well-doing; and abuse of all kinds, culminating in persecution arising from religious hatred, with prayer and intercession. Whatever meanness the enemies may devise, love’s ingenuity will find a way of overwhelming them with goodness. For its object is always to find ways and means of winning the adversary, and, above all, of gaining him for the Lord.

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“After the service in a parish church where Barth had been preaching one Sunday, he was met at the door by a man who greeted him with these words: ‘Professor Barth, thank you for your sermon. I’m an astronomer, you know, and as far as I am concerned, the whole of Christianity can be summed up by saying, ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’”

“Barth replied: ‘Well, I am just a humble theologian, and as far as I am concerned the whole of astronomy can be summed up by saying ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.’”

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