Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

30 November 2006
  + Andrew, Apostle +
30 November, New Testament

Saint AndrewToday we celebrate the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ. Most New Testament references include him on a list of the Twelve Apostles or group him with his brother, Simon Peter. But we see him acting as an individual three times. When a number of Greeks (or Greek-speaking Jews) wished to speak with Jesus, they approached Philip, who told Andrew, and the two of them told Jesus (John 12:20-22). Since "Philip" and "Andrew" are Greek names, these petitioners may have sought them out. Before Jesus fed the Five Thousand, Andrew said, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many? (John 6:9)"

The first two disciples whom John reports as attaching themselves to Jesus (John 1:35-42) are Andrew and another disciple (unnamed, but commonly supposed to be John himself — John never mentioned himself by name, a widespread literary convention). After meeting Jesus, Andrew found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. Thus, on each occasion when he is mentioned as an individual, we see him bringing others to meet the Savior.

Just as Andrew was the first of the Apostles, so the Western Church uses his feast to mark the beginning of the Church Year. The First Sunday of Advent is defined as the Sunday on or nearest his feast. (The way the reckoning was designed, it also means that there are always four Sundays in Advent, including, as in this year, the 24th of December, the Eve of the Nativity.

Union JackScotland considers Andrew to be its national saint. Meanwhile, George (23 April), Patrick (17 March), and Dewi (1 March) fill these roles for England, Ireland, and Wales, respectively. George, a soldier, is customarily pictured as a knight with a shield that bears a red cross on a white background. This became the national flag of England.

Tradition says that Andrew was crucified on a Cross Saltire — an "X"-shaped cross, which became his symbol and later, the national flag of Scotland. One symbol of Patrick is a red cross saltire on a white background. The crosses of George and Andrew were combined to form the Union Jack, or flag of Great Britain; later the cross of Patrick was added to create the present Union Jack.

Alas, poor Wales ... it doesn't appear on the British flag, perhaps because Dewi didn't have such a representative symbol.

Lection

Psalm 139:1-20 or Psalm 19:1-6
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 or Ezekiel 3:16-21
Romans 10:(8-9)10-18
Matthew 4:18-22 or John 1:35-42

Collect

Almighty God, by Your grace the blessed apostle Saint Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be His disciple. Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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29 November 2006
  + The Holy Prophet Noah +
29 November, Old Testament

Noah's ArkThe world had become extremely corrupt, so God instructed Noah, the son of Lamech (Genesis 5:30) to build an ark to provide security for his family and selected living creatures from the waters of a devastating flood that God warned was coming (Genesis 6). Noah built the ark, and the flood came soon after its completion (Genesis 7). The entire earth was flooded blotting out "every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. (7:23)"

After the flood subsided, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. When Noah determined it was safe, and God confirmed it, he and his family and all the animals disembarked (Genesis 8). Then Noah built an altar and offered a sacrifice to God for having saved his family from destruction. God declared a rainbow to be sign of His promise that never again would a similar flood destroy the entire earth (8:20).

We remember and honor Noah for his faithful obedience, as he believed that God would do what He said He would. Jesus, Saint Peter, and the author of Hebrews all use Noah and the Flood as illustrations. These include God's judgment on sin, unwavering faith, a picture of Holy Baptism, and a prefiguring of Christ's suffering, death, descent into hell, and resurrection.

Lection

Psalm 29
Genesis 7:1-5, 11-12, 17-23
1 Peter 3:18-22 or Hebrews 11:1-3, 7; 12:1-2
Matthew 24:36-44

Collect

Lord God, heavenly Father, You kept Noah righteous in the midst of a sinful world and, through him, delivered life from the Flood's destruction, continuing also the human line of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ and foreshadowing the destruction of sin in Baptism and the preservation of new and eternal life in the Ark of the Holy Christian Church. Grant that we, the heirs of Noah by birth would likewise be heirs in faith of all Your promises, for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

NB: I've back-dated this post to match the date of the commemoration. My cable internet provider lost my entire community for over 36 hours, delaying posting of this and the biography of Saint Andrew.

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27 November 2006
  Of God, Man, and the United States

Regular readers know me to be a socially conservative Aardvark. Some even accuse me of having four right legs. However, I'm no knee-jerk apologist for either the religious or the political right. And while I think that the absolute sundering of Christianity from American government and jurisprudence has wrought great harm, I also firmly believe that my beloved country isn't God's greatest gift to the world. With this in mind, I recommend reading Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness at Ask the Pastor.

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  The Sun Never Sets
On the Aardvark Empire

Here's a quick (and four corners of the English-speaking world) update to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©. We have additions from the UK, the US, and Canada and a change of address for one of my favo(u)rite Australians.

The three newbies are American seminarian Jay Winters, Conrad Gempf, who brings us Not Quite Art, Not Quite Living from London, and a "32 year old trucker/student from western Canada," a.k.a. the TheoCon.

Meanwhile, Australia's very own Mild Colonial Boy has moved The Sectarian Strand to a new URL.

Each of these bloggers, as well as all others listed among my links, are invited to link back to the Alley and, if they desire, may use one of the BBOV Buttons to indicate their "exalted status" (or perilous position) in the blogosphere.

Should you desire to possess these links for your own blogroll, simply email me for the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© or grab it all for yourself by simply copying the source code. As always, if you own or know of a Lutheran blog demonstrating a quia confessional subscription and would like me to consider it for inclusion, please leave me a comment. For more information about why this stuff benefits confessional Lutheran blogging, morality, and other worthwhile things, please check out the first three links under "Aurous Effluence" in the sidebar.

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25 November 2006
  Lutheran Survivor
The Final Round

Following the first round, wherein noted theologians were pitted against each other, Lutheran Survivor turned to the entertainment industry. The voters have whittled down the list of actors with Lutheran associations (at least by birth or nurture). Of the six (okay, seven, if you separate the Bridges brothers) who began the competition, only two remain.

If you haven't yet played, here the first round contestants were Beau and Jeff Bridges, David Hasselhoff, William H. Macy, David Ruprecht, Kevin Sorbo, and Bruce Willis. Before clicking over, you can try guessing who was eliminated in the preliminary rounds and then go cast your vote for the winner (actually against the loser, since you're voting him off the island).

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23 November 2006
  A Turkey of a Thanksgiving Letter
NARAL Gives Thanks for Pro-Death Supporters

Unborn BabyI subscribe to and read many things with which I disagree. Among these is the email newsletter published by NARAL Pro-Choice America. This morning, I received Nancy Keenan's latest epistle, a total mockery of the only One who is truly worthy of our thanks.

Instead of sounding like, say, Psalm 136, Keenan — in line with the rest of secular America — guts this day of any pretense of godliness. After her salutation, the letter begins, "Family and friends, turkey and homemade mashed potatoes, hours of football and Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV — these are some of the reasons I always look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday."

Then she goes beyond what many of our worldly fellow citizens say and think, adding a heaping helping of baby-killing impiety: "Today, as we take time away from our hectic schedules to visit with loved ones, NARAL Pro-Choice America's online team and I want to tell you just how thankful we are for all you do to protect women's privacy and freedom. [emphasis in original]" She follows up with a list of gloats, including "winning back pro-choice leadership of the House and Senate," helping defeat South Dakota's "near-total ban on abortion," and forcing Wal-Mart to stock emergency contraception.

After cheering on the "strong community" of abortionistas, she closes with a final wish and words of thankfulness: "I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. And thank you again for all you do to protect a woman's right to choose."

It's obvious that she divorces the "Thanksgiving holiday" from any concept of a Christian "holy day." Moreover, I wonder just how many "family and friends" of the pro-choice crowd didn't gather for turkey and football because they were killed before they could leave the womb and sit around the dining room table or in front of the TV. Of course, those who follow Keenan and NARAL won't see the irony in her well-wishing. After all, fewer guests means more on everyone else's plate and a better view of the game.

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  + Clement of Rome +
23 November AD 100

Clement of RomeSaint Clement of Rome, Pastor and Bishop (ca. A.D. 35–100), is remembered for establishing the pattern of apostolic authority that governed the Christian Church during the first and second centuries. He insisted on keeping Christ at the center of the Church's worship and outreach. In a letter to the Corinthian Christians, he emphasized the centrality of Jesus' death and resurrection: "Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ, realizing how precious it is to His Father, since it was poured out for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to the whole world" (1 Clement 6:31).

Early accounts claim that he suffered a martyr's death by drowning — specifically, he was said to have been tied to an anchor, hence his normal symbol is an anchor. Before his death, he displayed a steadfast, Christ-like love for all of God's redeemed people, serving as inspiration for future generations to continue building the Church on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, with Christ as the one and only cornerstone. His Epistle to the Corinthians addresses what he considered to be the improper dismissal of a bishop. It works both for good order and for abounding charity among the Corinthian Christians.

Here follows an excerpt from his Epistle to the Corinthians:

Let the one truly possessed by the love of Christ keep his commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendor of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; "it cancels innumerable sins," has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others. By it all God's chosen ones have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please him. Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God's will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life's blood for us — he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.

See then, beloved, what a great and wonderful thing love is, and how inexpressible its perfection. Who are worthy to possess it unless God makes them so? To him therefore we must turn, begging of his mercy that there may be found in us a love free from human partiality and beyond reproach. Every generation from Adam's time to ours has passed away; but those who by God's grace were made perfect in love and have a dwelling now among the saints, and when at last the kingdom of Christ appears, they will be revealed. "Take shelter in your rooms for a little while," says Scripture, "until my wrath subsides. Then I will remember the good days, and will raise you from your graves."

Happy are we, beloved, if love enables us to live in harmony and in the observance of God's commandments, for then it will also gain for us the remission of our sins. Scripture pronounces "happy those whose transgressions are pardoned, whose sins are forgiven. Happy the one," it says, "to whom the Lord imputes no fault, on whose lips there is no guile." This is the blessing given those whom God has chosen through Jesus Christ our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever.
.       .       .

Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.

Clement of RomeIf we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has "offered the opportunity of repentance" to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God's message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God's forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not of God's people.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God's grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe himself spoke of repentance with an oath: "As I live," says the Lord, "I do not wish the death of the sinner but the sinner's repentance." He added this evidence of his goodness: "House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell my people: If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to me with your whole heart and say, 'Father,' and I will listen to you as to a holy people."

In other words, God wanted all his beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and he confirmed this desire by his own almighty will. That is why we should obey his sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat his mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before him and turn to his compassion, rejecting empty works and quarreling and jealousy which only lead to death.

We should be humble in mind, putting aside all arrogance, pride, and foolish anger. Rather, we should act in accordance with the Scriptures, as the Holy Spirit says: "The wise must not glory in wisdom nor the strong in strength nor the rich in riches. Rather, let the one who glories glory in the Lord, by seeking him and doing what is right and just." Recall especially what the Lord Jesus said when he taught gentleness and forbearance. "Be merciful," he said, "so that you may have mercy shown to you. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you treat others, so you will be treated. As you give, so you will receive. As you judge, so you will be judged. As you are kind to others, so you will be treated kindly. The measure of your giving will be the measure of your receiving."

Let these commandments and precepts strengthen us to live in humble obedience to his sacred words. As Scripture asks: "Whom shall I look upon with favor except the humble, peaceful one who trembles at my words?"

Sharing then in the heritage of so many vast and glorious achievements, let us hasten toward the goal of peace, set before us from the beginning. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Father and Creator of the whole universe, and hold fast to his splendid and transcendent gifts of peace and all his blessings.

Lection

Psalm 78:3-7 or 85:8-13
2 Timothy 2:1-7
Luke 6:37-45

Collect

Almighty God, who chose Your servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability, grant that Your Church may be grounded and settled in Your truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and may evermore be kept blameless in Your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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21 November 2006
  BBOV Buttons
Pledge Allegiance to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©

Want to let folks know that you're listed at the Alley? Looking for a subtle way of saying, "You bet I'm quia!"? Then you're in luck. I've created these new blog buttons using Adam Kalsey's Button Maker so folks who've enrolled with the BBOV can let others know about their affiliation with confessional Lutheran blogging.
If you'd like one of the other buttons on this page, you can copy them from the sidebar or visit New Buttons for Lutheran Bloggers and A Few Blog Buttons to Share.

If you're a Blogger user and the button is on the Blogger server, feel free to link directly to the image. Otherwise, please copy it to your own image server to avoid bandwidth theft. Each of these measures 80x15 pixels. Please link back to either the main Aardvark Alley URL or else to the post What Is the BBOV.

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  Carnival Time

I almost forgot to let readers know that Lutheran Carnival XXXVII is posted at Ryan Schroeder's blog What Did Jesus Do. Thanks, Ryan, for hosting this edition.

Also, the mother blog says that more hosts (and posts) are needed in order to continue with future carnivals.

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19 November 2006
  An Aardvark's Work
... Is Never Done

It seems like it was just a few days ago that I made current the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©. Okay, it was just a few days ago. Anyhow, the update moved a few others to tell me that they, too, had changes to list.

The new place belongs to established blogger Kelly Klages, who now hosts Confessional Lutheran Ecclesiastical Art Resources. Her statement of purpose tells you exactly what to expect: It is a goal of mine for this site to explore the vocation of artist and craftsman from a confessional Lutheran perspective, with an emphasis on traditional ecclesiastical art forms for both the Lutheran church and home. I also want to encourage artists in the church to use the gifts of their vocation for the beautifying of their houses of worship in our church bodies.

The changes are twofold. First, please replace your URL for Love & Blunder with the new and different Love and Blunder. Rob and Devona aren't closing the old site, but it will be, in Devona's words, "a place for those of you who are only interested in the number of inches our offspring have gained in the last 3 months to come and get your photo-fix."

Then change your link for Thoughts of Steven. The old URL points to a non-Lutheran site after an accident with Blogger Beta trashed Steven's previous incarnation.

Finally, we have neither a change of URL nor of name. Instead, it's a welcome home to Adam Roe of Working Out My Salvation. Adam returned safely from his deployment with the United States Air Force and is now back to regular blogging. Swing by and thank him for his service to his country.

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  + Elizabeth of Hungary +
19 November AD 1231

Elizabeth of HungaryElizabeth (Erzsebet, Elisabeth) of Hungary, born in Pressburg, Hungary, in 1207, was the daughter of King Andrew II and his wife Gertrude. Given in an arranged political marriage, she became wife of Louis of Thuringia (Germany) at age 14.

Her spirit of Christian generosity and charity pervaded the home she established for her husband and three children in the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach. Their abode was known for hospitality and family love.

Elizabeth often supervised the care of the sick and needy, even giving up her bed to a leper at one time. Widowed at age 20, she arranged for her children's well-being and entered into life as a nun in the Order of Saint Francis. Her self-denial led to failing health and an early death in 1231 at the age of 24. Remembered for her self-sacrificing ways, Elizabeth is commemorated through the many hospitals named for her around the world.

Lection

Psalm 146:4-9 or 112:1-9
Tobit 12:6b-9
Matthew 25:31-40 or Luke 12:32-34

Collect

Almighty God, by whose grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world, grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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17 November 2006
  Give Thanks for the BBOV
... for It Occasionally Gets Updated

Yep, boys and girls, 'tis time for a much-needed makeover to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© so here are a baker's dozen additions, four name or URL changes, and ten deletions for a variety of reasons.

To find out more about the BBOV, please read What Is the BBOV? and Building a Lutheran Presence; Part 2. Those who'd like the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© can either email me or read BBOV Changes for details on obtaining the list from the Alley's source code.

Howdy

Here, alphabetically by height, are our new additions to the Confessional Lutheran list:

Chaplain to the World — He says, "The author is an LC-MS clergyman who serves as an Assistant Pastor; and as a fire department, and law enforcement chaplain. He's often called upon, it seems, to be chaplain to the world, thus the name."

Euchrestos, a PhD student, takes his name from Paul's comments about Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11.

Pastor Mark Sell launched Friends of Mercy to assist the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya in helping AIDS Orphans and young girls who flee Female Genital Cutting.

Garden of Gethsemane is Pastor Brett Cornelius' labor of love.

If he were a movie, I'd probably give General Scuttlebutt a PG-13 rating. There's plenty of satire and other humor, but be forewarned — it's not for everyone.

"Daughter of the Almighty. Air Force Wife. Homeschooling Mommy of 2." Living in Canaan is one of the new family oriented confessional blogs.

As if Pastor Chryst wasn't already busy enough with his other efforts (see Preachrblog and The Lutheran Blog Directory) ... he's now running Lutheran Survivor, pitting famous and infamous Lutherans against each other and having readers vote 'em off the blog.

It looks like The Markel Family has gotten the hang of this blogging thing. They've even already taken a turn hosting the Lutheran Carnival.

First Dan and Elle got married. Now they've married their blogs. Random Intolerance is the result.

Why does this Wisconsin woman call her site Susan's Pendulum? She says, "Swinging from one extreme to the other, either busy or vegging, orderly or cluttered, meals par excellence or insta-food, schoolwork all day or not at all. Good thing my husband is well-balanced."

These Curious Minds belong to Maria and her cohorts Karissa, Rick, Marie, Lyn, and Lizzie.

One pastor, Three Taverns — I think that Pastor Paul Willweber is on to something big with his "place to sit down and talk theology."

Finally, here's the "baker" for my "dozen." Since he belongs to the ELCA, about which I doubt the corporate confession, I'm listing Pastor David Hansen's Postings from Prairie Hill among the "Other Blogs." He's still a darned good read.

The More Things Change ...

Please make the necessary name or URL changes for these fine folk:

First of all, The Augsburg Aggregator has a new domain. However, you still might want to visit the old "dot org" — there, David Bickel focuses on Theology of the Cross: The Faith Luther Confessed.

The Life of Michael keeps the same name but changes the URL from his Vox location.

Meanwhile, David Yow keeps the URL but changes the name to Original Evangelical (you know, as in Lutheran).

Finally, David Bickel's old Dawning Realm underwent name and URL changes and a stylistic face lift and emerged as Theologia Crucis.

Adios

"Now it's time to say good-bye ...." These people have either shut down their sites, avoided posting for a long time, or, in the case of John Fenton, left Lutheranism. Therefore, they can be deleted from your confessional Lutheran listings:

   Beggars All (gone and greatly lamented)

   Conversi ad Dominum (gone to Constantinople)

   Cruising Down the Coast of the High Barbaree (real life intruded)

   Drowning Myself Whenever I Can (gone)

   Essential Theology for Laity (gone)

   Hot Under the Collar (1 year without posts)

   Masks of God (gone)

   Soldiers of the Cross (gone)

   The Spirit Is Willing; the Flesh Is Weak (real life intrudes)

   Tail Feathers and All (gone)

Thus far another round of Aardvark Updates. Again, if you'd like just the confessional Lutheran bloggers or all the links in my sidebar, please click for the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© and tell me which list you'd prefer. Or do as Pastor Chryst suggests and grab it all for yourself by simply copying the source code. And if you know of or own a Lutheran blog demonstrating a quia confessional subscription and would like me to consider it for inclusion, please leave me a comment.

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14 November 2006
  + Justinian, Christian Ruler +
14 November AD 565

Justinian IJustinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ, was emperor of the East from A.D. 527 to 565, during the time of decline of the Roman Empire. Aided by his beautiful and capable wife, Theodora, he restored majesty to the Byzantine court and is considered by historians to be the last true "Roman" emperor. During his reign the Empire experienced a renaissance, due in large part to his ambition, intelligence, and strong religious convictions.

Justinian also attempted to unite a sharply divided Church and was a champion of orthodox Christianity, seeking agreement among the parties in the Christological controversies of the day who were disputing the relation between the divine and human natures in the Person of Christ. The Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in A.D. 533 was held during his reign and addressed this disagreement. Justinian died in his eighties, without seeing the completion of his desire for a solidly orthodox Christian empire.

He is counted as a saint in the Eastern Church and certainly accomplished much. However, as with many renowned champions of the faith, Justinian also exhibited less than exemplary behavior at times. His "feet of clay" involved his overzealous attempts to forward or defend Christianity by fiat or force of arms. Yet he also supported legitimate missions and thousands were brought to faith in Africa and Asia Minor.

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11 November 2006
  + Saint Martin of Tours +
11 November AD 397

Martin of Tours, pastor and bishop of the Church, was born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary around the year AD 316. He grew up in Lombardy (a region in Italy) and came to the Christian faith as a young man. He then began a career in the Roman army. But sensing a call to a church vocation, Martin left the military and became a monk, affirming that he was "Christ's soldier."

Saint Martin of ToursAccording to early stories, when he was 21, he passed the gates of Amiens and saw a man freezing on the side of the road. Taking pity on this man, Martin ripped his army issue cloak in half and gave it to the man to help comfort him. That night, Martin dreamt of Jesus Christ wearing that half cloak. This vision shook Martin to the core, no longer wanting to be part of the army, he succeeded in attaining a discharge from service.

Martin journeyed to the city of Poitiers where he met the bishop (later to be named Saint) Hilary and was baptized. Returning to Gaul, Martin found that the Arian heresy had taken a firm hold. He spoke out against it and was singled out for persecution and forced to flee. The same happened shortly thereafter to Saint Hilary. Martin fled to an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, living as a hermit. In 361, Martin discovered that Hilary had regained his seat in Pontiers; this news moved Hilary to return to Gaul.

Hilary sent Martin to Leguge, a Benedictine monastery, to continue his ways as a hermit; there Martin spent the next ten years. In 371, the Bishop of Tours died and Martin was asked twice to assume that seat — he respectfully refused both times. Martin was tricked into coming to Tours to administer the Anointing of the Sick to a friend's wife. This time Martin was persuaded to accept the responsibility as Bishop of Tours. We remember him for his simple lifestyle and his determination to share the Gospel throughout rural Gaul, as well as his work as bishop in successfully staving off numerous heresies.

Incidentally, on St. Martin's Day in 1483, the one-day-old son of Hans and Margarette Luther was baptized and given the name "Martin." Also, as much of the world honors veterans on 11 November, we might take note that St. Martin is a traditional patron saint of soldiers.

Lection

Psalm 15 or 34:15-22
Isaiah 58:6-12
Matthew 25:34-40

Collect

Lord God of hosts, who clothed Your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in Your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

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  Veterans' Day
Eleven, Eleven, Eleven

In parts of the world, including these United States, 11 November is a day of remembrance growing out of the end of World War I. It grew from the armistice ending western European hostilities in the First World War. This post's subtitle comes from the implementation of the armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month — that is, at 11:00 a.m. GMT on 11 November, 1918.

Originally known as Armistice Day (and still called this by some) the United States expanded the emphasis from gratitude for the end of the "War to End All Wars" to remembering and thanking all of our honorably discharged military personel. The US holiday was officially established as Veterans Day in 1954.

Spiritually, the "Great War" of the early 1900s ended much positive thinking about the upward climb of mankind and helped usher in the era of Modernism. The harshness of the "peace" which followed led to renewed hatred and hostilities in Europe. Coupled with the Great Depression, this helped to begin events leading to the Second World War.

The false hope much of the world, including many Christians, held for a utopian earth with no more armed conflict perished on the battlefields of these two world conflicts along with thousands upon thousands of armed combatants and millions of civilians. Wars and rumors of wars continue to testify against this fallen Creation and point to the final end of conflict, when our Savior returns in judgment.

We will still remember those who served honorably to defend the ideals upon which our Republic was founded. We will also continue to pray that America would return to much she has forgotten about both individual freedom and the interdependence of all citizens in a free society.

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10 November 2006
  A Lutheran Birthday Haiku

I was checking out some Technorati tags concerning Luther, Lutheranism, and the Reformation and found something written especially for today by Baptist pastor and scholar Dr. Jim West. Check out A Haiku To Martin Luther: On The Anniversary of His Birth and while you're at Dr. West's blog, read some of his other writings, including several on our own confession's founding father.

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  Happy Birthday, Martin Luther
10 November AD 1483

A day after celebrating the birth of the Second Martin, we remember that of the original. Yes, on this day in 1483, a baby boy was born in the Saxon town of Eisleben to Hans and Margarette Luther. On the morrow, they would have the child baptized and would give him name of that day's saint, Martin of Tours.

The rest, as they say, was history. Therefore, a longer biography is included at the commemoration of his death.

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08 November 2006
  + Johann von Staupitz +
ca. AD 1469-28 December 1524


StaupitzToday we remember Johann von Staupitz. Martin Luther's Father Confessor was vicar-general of the Augustinian Order in Germany. He befriended the troubled young man on numerous occasions, sending Luther deeper into the Scriptures while attempting to calm his troubled conscience.

Staupitz was born in Saxony, studied at the universities in Leipzig and Cologne, and served on the faculty at Cologne. In 1503 Frederick the Wise called him to serve as dean of the theological faculty at the newly founded University of Wittenberg. There, Staupitz encouraged Luther to attain a doctorate in theology and appointed him as his successor to professor of Bible.

During Luther's early struggles to understand God's grace, it was Staupitz who counseled Luther to focus on Christ and not on himself. In later years, Luther said, "If it had not been for Dr. Staupitz, I should have sunk in hell."

Staupitz died on 28 December 1524 but the LCMS commemoration was moved away from the Nativity season and linked to this time in November immediately preceding the birthdays of reformers Martin Chemnitz and Martin Luther.

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02 November 2006
  Commemoration of the Faithful Departed
2 November

requiescat in paceAlso known as All Souls' Day, this commemoration goes hand in glove with yesterday's remembrance of All Saints' Day. In the early Church, feasts of apostles and evangelists were soon celebrated, especially those of Peter and Paul, although John and James were also early favorites.

Later, martyrs and many other canonized saints were commemorated on 1 November (All Saints' Day). The departed in purgatory were remembered on 2 November (November 3, if November 2 fell on Sunday).

Although the unbiblical idea of purgatory was rooted out of the Lutheran Church, our forefathers saw much good in a day set aside to remember those who departed in the Faith and who await the resurrection of all flesh. Many who grew up in the German language remember the day as Totenfest.

In much of Latin America, All Saints' and, especially, All Souls' Day morphed somewhat into the Day (or Days) of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). This is more of a secular festival with religious (and often superstitious) overtones which especially remembers departed family members, friends, and even pets with special altars and much feasting.

Lection

Psalm 34:1-9
Isaiah 35:3-10
2 Peter 3:8-14
John 5:24-29

Collect

Almighty God, in whose glorious presence live all who depart in the Lord and before whom all the souls of the faithful who are delivered of the burden of the flesh are in joy and felicity, we give You hearty thanks for Your loving-kindness to all Your servants who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labors, and we humbly implore Your mercy that we, together with all who have departed in the saving Faith, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, in both body and soul, in Your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

See the Christian Cyclopedia for more information.

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01 November 2006
  All Saints' Day
1 November

All Saints DayThe first day of November (or a Sunday close to it) is traditionally observed as All Saints' Day. On this day the Church remembers those who have finished the course of this life in faith and are now at rest with the Lord.

On All Saints' Day, we thank God for the faith of our fellow saints and for their example in the Christian life. But most of all, we praise God for His faithfulness to His saints, keeping them in His merciful favor. God promises to be faithful to us just as He has been faithful to our fellow saints before us.

The day came about in large part because of a glut of canonized saints in the Roman Catholic Church. So many had been established that the calendar was overflowing with saints' days: Therefore, many were moved to the joint commemoration on 1 November.

Lection

Psalm 65:1-8 or 34:1-10
Deuteronomy 33:1-3 or Isaiah 26:1-4, 8-9, 12-13, 19-21
Revelation 7:2-17 or 21:9-11, 22-27, 22:1-5
Matthew 5:1-12

Collect

O almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit together as one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which You have prepared for those who unfeignedly love You; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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  Amendment Two's Loyal Opposition

KFUO RadioThe Alley shamelessly swipes this list from the Ask the Pastor post And in This Corner. The only changes either are cosmetic or else involve a few shifts to reflect this being hosted here at the Alley and the addition of a couple more sites. ATP's Pastor Snyder was guest on the Lutheran radio program Issues, Etc., where host Todd Wilken interviewed him in a segment entitled "The Incarnation & Embryonic Stem Cell Research," where they focus on Christological reasons for opposing Amendment 2. This is the first half of an hour long segment archived in either WMA or MP3 formats.

If you go to Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, you'll find a long list of people who support the Missouri Amendment 2. But the more you search cyberspace, the more you'll find those who oppose this anti-life, pro-cloning, embryo-destroying proposed change to the Missouri Constitution.

What follows is an assortment of individuals, ad hoc organizations, and churches who find ample reason to defeat passage of this measure. If you're already convinced that the so-called Stem Cell Initiative is wrong, maybe you'll find something to help convince others to change their minds. If you're wavering, I hope that these people (and others to whom they link) will persuade you to vote for life and against Two. And if you're a backer of this proposal, I pray that you'll approach these pages and videos with an open mind and be moved to reconsider.

Missouri Right to Life not only works to end abortion in Missouri but also speaks to other vital issues, including this amendment. They also mention how another proposed change to our constitution, Amendment 3, also has "pro-abortion pitfalls."

Wesley J. SmithWesley J. Smith writes at Secondhand Smoke and has spoken on the radio about the legal ramifications, the science, and the morality of Amendment 2. He covers the Michael J. Fox commercial and the media's reaction, talks about the impact of egg harvesting upon poor women, and touches on other Amendment 2 issues. He also has many good articles about other aspects of the pro-life movement.

Pure Pedantry weighs in on one part of the disingenuous doublespeak cited and recited by Two-backers. He shows how some in the scientific community want to replace the hot-button word "cloning" with "somatic cell nuclear transfer" and other technical but confusing terms in public discourse.

Also on the linguistic front, Doug Edelman, cited in The American Daily, doesn't mince words when he says, Missouri's Stem Cell Amendment Is Deceptive Fraud. He uses one of my favorite Abe Lincoln quotes to illustrate the fact that renaming the cloning process doesn't change what it is: "How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Using similar language, Dave F. of Stop the ACLU writes Missouri Cloning Bill: Dangerous and Deceptive.

AnchoressThe Anchoress has written quite a number of pro-life posts. Among her recent articles on Amendment 2, I recommend Adult Stem Cells: 72, Embryonic Stem Cells: 0 and Michael J. Fox Fighting for Bad Science.

If you have an hour to dedicate to an extended talk about the issue, you might want to view Stem Cell Speech on Golden Valley TV.

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online says 2 Bad for Amendment 2 as she evaluates Missouri's place as "the latest Brave New World battleground."

Although, in my mind, the Catholic League gets uncomfortably close to debating's "Hitler Tactic" (demonize your opponent as a Nazi and shut down discussion) they still manage to make the point that if fetuses are living, then Missourians Are Asked to Ignore Nuremberg Code by supporters of Amendment 2.

Over the road trucker Road Knight parked his rig long enough to describe embryos as human beings and then cites a long list of afflictions now being treated by adult stem cell therapies as he makes the claim Missouri Amendment 2: Child Murder Initiative.

Blonde SagacityBlonde Sagacity clearly shows how the stem cell initiative supports cloning "outside the womb" and favorably cites the New York Times as she says, Human Cloning: Missouri Voters Being Duped.

Even the Great White North is looking in on our clone wars. Instead of our state remaining "Gateway to the West," Rebecca Hagelin of Proud to Be Canadian writes of Missouri: Gateway to Human Cloning.

Missouri Voters Warned Against Deceptive 'Stem Cell' Amendment says Jim Brown of Agape Press as he studies the issues and cites work by the Family Research Council.

Of the Missouri Embryonic Stem Cell Initiative, Avoiding Evil invites you to listen to a message from his pastor.

Hang Right Politics has been busy in the life discussion for some time. Among their efforts, I recommend Missouri's Amendment 2: Lifesaving cures or snake oil? Pt. 1.

Sister ToldjahSister Toldjah examines the tangled web between the Missouri Senate race, the Michael J. Fox video, and the rest of the Amendment Two donnybrook with such posts as Missouri's Jim Talent: Your Typical Heartless and Cruel Conservative and the Michael J. Fox Ad Controversy: One More on a Long List of Shameless Attempts by the Left to Stifle the Debate.

Since we're now discussing Fox's video, let's point you again to Secondhand Smoke, specifically, Fox's Tragedy Doesn't Make His Statements About Embryonic Stem Cells True.

Carl Lundblad of the Law of Life Project weighs in with Thoughts on Michael J. Fox and Thomas Jefferson.

Michael J. Fox Uses Parkinson's For Politics! is the flat out (but seemingly undeniably true) accusation from Totally Joshness.

Among all these other responses to M. J. Fox, we also remind you of the recent letter Pastor Snyder quoted from the Missouri Lutheran pastor and Parkinson's patient who has A Dog in the Fight. The comments to this post include a response from Lisa Stapp of Blessed and Content — and Disabled. This Lutheran lady suffers from Intermediate Spinal Muscular Atrophy and agreed with the pastor about not wanting to improve her own life at the expense of others. My Comments Regarding EMBRYONIC Stem Cells tells her story.

Twenty-five year old Missouri resident Valerie is Spoken For. She is also outspoken out about The TRUTH about the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative (Vote No on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2).

While Initiative Is a Good Thing, the cloning initiative obviously isn't. Instead, it can be called The Missouri Stem Cell Moneyfest.

Trent DoughertyIn a similar vein, Trent Dougherty of X-Catholics writes MO Stem-Cell Update: Follow the Money.

Perhaps one of the most somber headlines comes courtesy of Women for Faith & Family. This article warns that Industrialized Human Cloning Looms.

Missouri Stem Cell Research Company Buying State Cloning Initiative is another hard look at the support money from the Stowers Institute that's been pouring into the pro-2 campaign. It's written by Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com.

And what of the Lutherans? Already back in August, Necessary Roughness was beginning to take a close look at Missouri Stem Cell Initiative: Amendment 2.

LCMS News Spot passed along this Observation of the Week: President Kieschnick Defends Life.

The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod categorically opposes the initiative, as shown in the article Clearing the Confusion.

At Balaam's Ass, Timotheos takes a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to task for supporting ESCR with remarks that are "chilling or blasphemously ironic" in "Sacrifice" and Stem Cells.

The Rev. Scott Kinnaman of Blog My Soul gets right to the point that Amendment Two promotes murder in writing Embryonic Stem Cell Research Kills Babies.

Lutherans for Life has the PDF handout The "Deceitful Tongue" of the Missouri Stem Cells Research and Cures Initiative.

Here at Aardvark Alley, I wrote a special rebuttal of the amendment's advertising being done by former Missouri Senator John Danforth in Knowing Jack About Stem Cells. Also at the Alley are two of the TV spots running against the amendment, The Truth about Amendment 2 and No MO 2.

Pastor in TexasAlong with listing a number of good resources, Ask the Pastor writes several original pieces against the Stem Cell Initiative, including his earlier column, Stem Cells and Clones. While at his blog, you can scroll up and down to read other posts, including his newest column, Tell the Truth or Trump — but Get the Trick.

A very good place to research the actual text of the amendment is at Missouri Roundtable for Life with their Word-By-Word Critique Of The So-Called "Missouri Stem Cell Research And Cures Initiative".

Missourians Against Human Cloning also sponsors 2Tricky.org, a site specializing in analyzing the language of the amendment and of its supporters.

Concerned Women for America published Missouri Stem-Cell Initiative Permits all Cloning.

The Southern Baptist Convention resolved to oppose all science that "destroys human embryos."

Focus on the Family has a number of articles on Cloning and Stem Cell Research.

LMCDee, a.k.a. Kansas City's own Little Miss Chatterbox writes My Radio Debut & Missouri's Amendment 2 Ads and completely pans Fox's effort while also expressing disappointment with the latest opposition ad.

Don't neglect the fine work of the Vitae Caring Foundation and their special efforts to get out these Stem Cell Research Facts, including some excellent commercials.

Area 417 weighs in with I Vote NO on the Missouri "Stem Cell" Amendment. In it, he focuses on major disagreements with the amendment, including embryonic destruction, economics, and the current science that supports the use of adult over embryonic cells.

Finally, let's not forget Americans to Ban Cloning, Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics, and National Right to Life.

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