Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Psalm 11 for Wednesday Night

Listen to me read Psalm 11...  

Psalm 11

To the choirmaster. Of David.

[1] In the LORD I take refuge;

how can you say to my soul,

“Flee like a bird to your mountain,

[2] for behold, the wicked bend the bow;

they have fitted their arrow to the string

to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;

[3] if the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?”

[4] The LORD is in his holy temple;

the LORD’s throne is in heaven;

his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

[5] The LORD tests the righteous,

but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

[6] Let him rain coals on the wicked;

fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

[7] For the LORD is righteous;

he loves righteous deeds;

the upright shall behold his face.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Ep. 26 - I'm a Non-Racist

I am not a racist. 

I don't care what book you read or ideas you hear or theories you follow... I have not been, nor will I ever be a racist. I fully understand that in some circles of people, for me to even say this, proves that I actually am. This is utter nonsense. Utter. Nonsense.  And because it is utter nonsense, I am going to say it again, just to spite the nonsensical crowd: I am not a racist. In fact, I will now put forth the accusation that if you think that I am a racist and hold to this idea, you, my friend, are an idiot... and my proof of your idiocy is in your denial of said idiocy... Your denial proves that you are. Right?

I'm white.

Not really. It is more of a peach-colored flesh-tone, but that is beside the point. To many people, and to governmental forms that I complete, I'm white. I'm not sure why this is important information for the government to know, but they always seem to want to know. (Does anyone now if they are regulating melanin now?)

Because I am melanin deficient, I believe that the current consensus is that I am supposed to be quiet on the topic of race. In fact, I'm fairly certain that some of my liberal acquaintances will freak out over me typing this post. So I'm a little nervous, not because of what I want to say, but because the other side doesn't seem to be playing by the same rules of interpretation. My melanin deficiency makes it quite possible that their feelings about this post will take a higher precedence than the actual words of this post. ... And if I continue to follow their reasoning, my strict adherence to the very idea that words ought to maintain their author's intent, superseding any felt-truths by the reader, is also demonstrating my lack of melanin. This again, is utter nonsense. 

With that said, I would ask you, before you read any further, to not judge me by the color of my skin, but by the content of my character... or at least the content of this post. Would you at least consider these following reasons as to why I simply cannot be a racist. (I know, bold statement.) Actually, I will go a step further, not only would I say that I am not a racist (and definitely not an antiracist), but I would classify myself as a non-racist and encourage others to do the same. I have two main reasons for my non-racist status, but my additional hope is any reader would see that in these beliefs that I am about to share, that those who actually are racist - specifically of the type that would judge someone by the quantity or lack of melanin they bear - that their one and only option is to repent of that sin and cry out to their creator for forgiveness. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Podcast Episode 25 - Can Christians Get Tattoos?


This podcast episode was originally uploaded in the Fall of 2017 (I believe). It is the one-and-only episode from a podcast that I was going to call, "Ask Pastor Matt."  It flopped, not because it wasn't a good episode, but because I never made another one. Well, I'm back at it, so I thought that I would upload this one and get it back out there. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Luther's Rose

 In a July 8, 1530 letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, Luther interprets his seal:

Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. "For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Romans 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal. This is my compendium theologiae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen. (source: Wikipedia)

If I add to Martin Luther's interpretation some significance to the 5 petals of that rose... representing the 5 Solae of the Reformation... I get this: 

Special Thanks to Trinity Shanks of Iron Tide Gallery in Danville, IL. 

Psalm 9 - For Wednesday Night

 The Psalm for Wednesday, March 10th, 2021 will be Psalm 9. 

Psalm 9

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Come Feast with Us!

 If you are one of my Christian Brothers or Sisters, please take 6 minutes and 42 seconds to watch this: 

... and then go to church tomorrow. If yours isn't fully open, then come to mine. You will be loved and welcomed!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Abortion Addressed

Abortion Conversation

I would like to take a moment to address the abortion conversation. I would like to do this, not just to stir the pot or poke the beast. And I absolutely don't want to do this out of any desire to be dis-compassionate to anyone. 

Please note, I am not going to be addressing the actual topic of abortion itself in this post... at least not directly... but I would like to discuss the issues that tend to arise in those particular conversations where abortion is the core topic. Now, I will obviously be speaking/writing from my own vantage point, based on my own experiences, and to be completely honest, this isn't a topic that has come up very often, but when it does, the flow of the conversation tended to go the same way every single time... It was a downhill slide... away from abortion. 

So... the purpose of this post is to tackle the conversational slide that I've experienced by "thinking through" (in blog format) what is happening in these conversations, and what issues, I feel, are steering the conversation toward that downhill slide.  I would like to call these issues "detours" ... they are the blockades that steer the conversation away from anything productive and into side topics that really aren't helpful and usually aren't accurate.  The first detour I would like to mention, can be found in the misuse of the word, "compassion."