Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

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

28 January 2007
  Is There a Doctor in the House?
Maybe not, but There's a House in the Carnival ...

House, MDiv, that is.

Our surgically clad seelsorger stitched together the latest edition of the Lutheran Carnival of Blogs and it looks like the patient, Lutheran Carnival XLII, will not only survive but will thrive. Visiting hours are unrestricted and any number of guests are allowed in the room at any one time.

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27 January 2007
  + John Chrysostom +
27 January AD 407

Saint John Chrysostom, Preacher, Bishop, and Theologian, was called Chrysostom (Greek for"golden-mouthed") by his hearers. He was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church.

Saint John ChrysostomBorn in Antioch around AD 347, John was instructed in the Faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities.

His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his home town. His title came from his legendary preaching abilities. An unsubstantiated by widely circulated tale is that pickpockets and cutpurses would flock to services because he held his audience so spellbound that they could easily rob Saint John's hearers.

In 398, John was made Patriarch of Constantinople, where His determination to reform the church, court, and city brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: "Glory be to God for all things. Amen."

John Chrysostom was one of four Eastern theologians among the eight Doctors of the undivided Church. The other three were Athanasius, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus. The four great early Western (or Latin) doctors were Augustine, Jerome, Gregory the Great, and Ambrose of Milan.

Lection

Psalm 49:1-8 or 34:15-22
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Luke 21:12-15

Collect

O God, who gave Your servant John Chrysostom the grace to proclaim eloquently Your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of Your Name, mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word, that Your people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Quote

The following excerpt is based on the passage, "[T]he letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)" It comes from his Sixth Homily On 2 Corinthians.
Yet he says these things not in one sense only, but in reference to those who prided themselves on the things of Judaism. By the "letter" here he means the Law which punishes those who transgress; but by the "spirit" he means the grace which through Baptism gives life to those who by sins were made dead.

In the Law he that has sin is punished. Here, he that has sins comes and is baptized and is made righteous, and being made righteous, he lives, being delivered from the death of sin. The Law, if it lay hold on a murderer, puts him to death. The Gospel, if it lay hold on a murderer, enlightens, and gives him life.
Quoted from The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism © 2004 by Concordia Publishing House.

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26 January 2007
  + Titus, Pastor, Confessor, and Bishop +
26 January, New Testament

Saint TitusSaint Titus, Pastor and Confessor was sent by Paul as bishop and pastor to Crete. Along with his other duties, he was also to "appoint elders in every town (Titus 1:5)" — in other words, he chose and consecrated the first generation of Cretan pastors and appears to have been the island's de facto bishop. While there, he was to himself be a faithful shepherd for Christ's flock as he trained and placed others into the Office of the Holy Ministry.

Titus is mentioned as Paul's companion in some of the epistles: 2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:6, 13-14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18; Galatians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:10.

The letters Paul wrote to Titus and Timothy are collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles. Much of Christianity's understanding and practice of the pastorate comes from these three relatively brief letters.

Lection

Psalm 71:1-14
Acts 20:28-35
Titus 1:1-9
Luke 10:1-9

Collect

Almighty God, You called Titus to the work of pastor and teacher. Make all shepherds of Your flock diligent in preaching Your hold Word so that the whole world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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25 January 2007
  The Conversion of Saint Paul
25 January, New Testament

Spiritus GladiusToday celebrates the Conversion of Saint Paul through the revelation of the risen Christ to him on the road to Damascus. The zealous Pharisee Saul was traveling to arrest followers of Jesus. Instead of capturing Christians, Paul found Himself made captive by his Savior's boundless grace and became Christ's primary apostle to the Gentiles. Accounts of the event are in Acts 9:1-22; Acts 26:9-21; and Galatians 1:11-24.

Paul's normal symbol in ecclesiastical art is a shield with sword and open Bible. The Latin words Spiritus Gladius (sword of the Spirit) come from the apostle's words about the armor of God, where he urges believers to take up "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)"

Lection

Psalm 67
Acts 9:1-22
Galatians 1:11-24
Matthew 19:27-30

Collect

Almighty God, as You turned the heart of him who persecuted the Church and by his preaching caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world, grant us ever to rejoice in the saving light of Your Gospel and to spread it to the uttermost parts of the earth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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24 January 2007
  + Timothy, Pastor and Confessor +
24 January, New Testament

Saint TimothyToday we commemorate Saint Timothy, Pastor and Confessor. The festival days for Pastors Timothy and Titus are set on either side of the day marking Saint Paul's conversion. This proximity reminds us of their connection with the apostle, including his establishing them in office and the letters he wrote to them.

Timothy grew up in the faith as taught by his mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois. He was a companion of Paul for many of the apostle's travels and spent much of his own pastorate in Ephesus.

Timothy is mentioned in Acts 16-20, and appears in 9 epistles either as joining in Paul's greetings or as a messenger. Additionally, two of Paul's three "pastoral epistles" — 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy — were addressed to him and his congregation.

Lection

Psalm 71:15-24
Acts 16:1-5
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Matthew 24:42-47

Collect

Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your hold Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign iwth the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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22 January 2007
  Rollin' Up the BBOV Score
The More, the Merrier

BBOV by St. CharlesFor the first time in over a month, we have an updated Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© that doesn't involve deleting existing entries. In other words, no one died, quit blogging, or left Lutheranism for a less Gospel-centric Christian confession.

Now if you're not sure what to make of the BBOV or wonder about the benefits of being listed and of listing others' blogs, please read the first three links under Aurous Effluence in the sidebar. Those who'd like the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© can either email me or copy the list from the Alley's source code (click View | Page Source or Control+U in Firefox or View | Source in Internet Explorer).

May I Introduce to You ...

Crazy? Like a fox, maybe. But he's The Crazy Lutheran and what he's really crazy about are Lutheran theology and hymnody and his girlfriend Sarah.

Next up, please welcome Brian of The Lonely Way. He's stuck in a not-too-Lutheran part of Arkansas, pining for pure liturgical worship. He has his escape planned, however — he's preparing to start seminary.

Our final new listing is the Sword of Gustavus, a sharp-dressed feller, to be sure, and one who's stepping out in fine style.

Minor Adjustments

One of these changes truly is a "minor" adjustment: The teen-authored The Rebelution, one of my "Other Blogs" listings, recently changed its URL. The other change comes from Lutheran seminarian not long involved in his own adulthood — Nerd Heaven has moved from Blogger to WordPress.

For these and all others enrolled in the BBOV, links back are certainly appreciated. And don't forget that all of those listed benefit when you use the entire blogroll. Also, if you'd like to graphically point to the Alley and the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©, you may use the above design from St. Charles Place or one of these blog buttons:
Each of these buttons measures 80x15 pixels. Should you choose to use one, please link back to either the main Aardvark Alley URL or else to the post What Is the BBOV.

Finally, 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 a comment. And again, 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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20 January 2007
  + Sarah +
20 January, Old Testament

Sarah, whose name means "princess," was wife (and half-sister) of Hebrew patriarch Abraham (Genesis 11:29; 20:12). In obedience to divine command (Genesis 12:1), she made the long and arduous journey west, along with her husband and his relatives, from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran and then finally to the land of Canaan.

She was originally named Sarai but the Lord commanded her change in name (Genesis 17:15). At the same time, He changed Abram's name to Abraham (from "exalted father" to "father of a people"; Genesis 17:5).

Sarah LaughedShe remained childless until old age. Then, in keeping with God's long-standing promise, she gave birth to a son and heir of the covenant (Genesis 21:1-3). When first promising Abraham and Sarah a son of their own, He told Abraham, "You shall call his name Isaac [he laughs]. (Genesis 17:19)" Evidently, the Lord anticipated both Sarah's celebration at his birth (Genesis 21:6) and her previous disbelieving laughter when she first heard she would become pregnant (Genesis 18:12-15). Thus, God reminds subsequent generations that He always "gets the last laugh."

We remember and honor Sarah as faithful wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac, the second of the three great patriarchs. Thus, she became biological mother to the people of Israel and spiritual mother to all who believe in Jesus Christ, her greatest descendent. We also acknowledge her gracious hospitality to strangers (Genesis 18:1-8).

Following her death at the age of 127, Abraham laid her to rest in the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23), where he was later buried (Genesis 25:7-10).

Saint Paul used the example of Sarah bearing Isaac according to divine promise to illustrate the relationship Christians have with God through the Gospel's promise. Galatians 4:21-31 contrasts Ishmael, the child of the slave woman Hagar, with Isaac, the promised child of the free woman Sarah. The author of Hebrews was inspired by the Holy Spirit to record that even though she initially laughed at the Lord's seemingly impossible prediction, "By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11)

Scripture quoted from the ESV.

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  Blogs for Life 2007
Conference Held in Conjunction with Life March

It's time to make final plans for Blogs4Life, the second annual conference of pro-life bloggers. The event is hosted by the Family Research Council on Monday 22 January 2007, prior to and after the March for Life in Washington DC and will be shown live over the internet.

Pro-life Aardvark
The conference program has expanded and is filled with noted pro-life leaders including:
The morning session will feature Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)!

The afternoon session features a panel discussion, moderated by the FRC's Charmaine Yoest, on the New Media. During this time you can expect to interact with a lively group of pro-life bloggers, videocast experts, media consultants and movie makers. Click here for the complete schedule.

Blogs4Life is an excellent opportunity for individuals and organizations to network with pro-life bloggers and develop an understanding of how weblog technology can be used to strategically promote life and transform ideas into action as we move toward a post-Roe America.

You can show up at the door for all or part of the conference but we would be most grateful if you register before the event so that the FRC can make adequate accommodations for food and beverages.

For more information see: Facts, Details, Directions, and Schedule. Even if you cannot participate in person, you can check Blogs for Life for the live feeds.

Finally, please consider promoting the conference over the weekend by blogging or forwarding this info to your pro-life friends. Maybe next year, we can get a group of Lutheran bloggers together under the banner of Lutherans for Life.

Text adapted from Blogs for Life. Graphic courtesy of Faithmouse.

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18 January 2007
  The Confession of Saint Peter
18 January, New Testament

Today we celebrate God's blessed revelation to the disciples that Jesus was more than a good man, a holy man, an outstanding teacher, or an awesome miracle worker: Thus, we also celebrate that through the Apostles and Evangelists, we also know and believe that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16)"

Flesh and blood still don't reveal this to us; faith is still a gift of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God. However, with the primary means of the Gospel Word, God uses the secondary means of flesh and blood to proclaim and teach each new generation this central confession of the Christian Faith.

Keys of the KingdomThus, once the Father, working through the Holy Spirit, created faith in Peter and the others that Jesus was the Anointed One promised by the prophets, Jesus commissioned them to minister in His Name. Yet they weren't to begin immediately. Peter's great Christological "aha!" would sit in silence until after the Son of Man went to Jerusalem to "suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)"

After the Resurrection, the Apostles received the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and immediately put this confession into the world. Preaching, teaching, baptizing, and absolving sinners, the original disciples discipled others. The Good News of the suffering, dying, and risen Messiah led thousands, then millions to the Faith.

The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven — the binding of unrepentant sinners' trangressions to them and the remission of sins for those who believe in Jesus as their Savior — remains the Church's mission. Their exercise is through the divinely created Office of the Holy Ministry, wherein Christ's called pastors continue to forgive sins on behalf of their Lord.

Through the pastoral office, Jesus continues to breathe His Spirit upon His appointed messengers. They continue the apostolic practice of forgiving sins in His stead and by His command while still firmly declaring the unremitting wrath of God against those who will not repent and believe: "If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld. (John 20:23)"

The Lutheran Confessions are replete with many instances and expressions of this gracious office. One brief and clear section is in the Small Catechism in the writing on Confession.

Lection

Psalm 118:19-29
Acts 4:8-13
2 Peter 1:1-15
Mark 8:27-35 (36-9:1)

Collect

Dear Father in heaven, You revealed to the apostle Peter the blessed truth that Your Son Jesus is the Christ. Strengthen us by the proclamation of this truth that we too may joyfully confess that there is salvation in no one else; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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15 January 2007
  Going for the Gold
We Don't Need No Stinkin' Globes!

Small Golden Aardvark AawardCongratulations to another round of "winners" of the AARDIE (Aardvark Aaward for Raillery, Doctrine, or Intellect in Exposition) — a continuing response to the glut of awards shows and shallow "honors" bestowed by the rest of the world (and the corresponding dearth of similar commendations with which I agree).

Most Aardie winners come from within the ranks of self-proclaimed confessional Lutherans. However, some emerge from elsewhere and may be listed among the "Other Blogs" in the BBOV. The basic order of posts this time is random, interrupted by the occasional thematic association. We'll lead off with this edition's only non-Lutheran, a man who not only enjoys the support of this Lutheran aardvark but also is a "good blogging buddy" of The Burr in the Burgh.

Aardie: The Golden Aardvark AawardAs noted in the inaugural post, honorees "are invited to display the coveted (but not in a 10th Commandment manner, please) Golden Aardvark on their own blogs.... [T]wo sizes are available, discreet (above) and "loud and proud" (right)." I leave it to you to decide whether and which to use and whether to place it in the body of the honored post, in a separate post, or in your blog's sidebar. If you do mention receipt of the Aardie, you may certainly link back to this post or to the Alley.

And now, the envelope, please....

He's not a "token" Baptist, since I have more than one listed among the "other" blogs. However, Philip "The Beast" Meade certainly is Baptist, and as such, has some reasoned speculation and a few pointed comments concerning the direction that a couple ex-Presidents want to take his church in Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Baptists. Interesting reading for any religious body that has a significant internal faction trying to make it more "relevant" to "modern society."

As long as we're in the neighborhood of former chief executives, here's a tip of the snout to Dead Presidents, wherein Die Schreiben von Schreiber compares the very different lives and deaths of Presidents Gerald Ford of the U.S. and Saddam Hussein of Iraq and draws some sobering conclusions about the reaction to the latter's death.

Definitely not decaf, A Hidden God is a high octane introduction to the theology of the God who hides Himself in the mundane and ordinary — even in suffering and death. Seize the espresso, Café Diem!

While lighthearted, a pair of posts from the Chaplain to the World also provide a thoughtful overview of vocation and the task of fitting oneself into the life he finds himself living. The first, Jobs I Have Had, shows our hero's journey from childhood through college and seminary, with brief stops to examine the ways in which he's earned a living. The companion piece, the similarly self-explanatory Jobs I'd Like to Have, combines flight of fancy with a window on the Chaplain's soul as we discover how his personality leads him to at least speculate about these vocational options.

Ed Reiss, the Upstate Lutheran, unveils his response to a friend who believed in "believer's baptism" by pushing the boundaries of the Regulative Principle of Worship and asking him, Should Women Receive Holy Communion? Should Infants be Baptized?

The answer: Because it made me giggle and because it sounds like marriage in the real world. The question: Why did I include Stupid Fairy at The Home Files?

As long as she keeps thinking and writing this well, I'll keep encouraging people to read Rachel Engebretson's Here I Stand. This time she compares the Sunday Times and The Onion as she discusses the scientific and sociological reaction to attempts to change the sexual orientation of homosexual sheep. Yep, as Rachel says, Not Even PETA Could Come Up with This.

Long Eye Moose, a newly minted Lutheran blogger, shares the trials and occasional triumphs associated with the catechesis of his autistic son with Confirmation for the Disabled.

I selected this next entry for three reasons. First, I discovered something I'd never known about Filipino culture. Second, I learned more about the author of Extra Nos. Finally, I found an interesting angle on "living under the cross" as I read Lito's brief post, Lord, My Name Is Cruz.

I regularly visit Kelly's Blog because I never know what I'll find there (art one day, family matters the next, and deep theology later on). So it was that I discovered Election and Salvation: Four Views. Sort of like dipping my hand into a box of money, I wasn't surprised to find something good, although I had no idea until I read the post and the comments just how rich it was.

Sometimes we run into too much smoke and not enough light — there's been a bit of rather rough head-butting going on under the guise of a debate over justification, sanctification, and the proper application of the Law, particularly the "Third Use" in Lutheran theology. Not necessarily because I approved of everything each one said, nor of the manner in which some of the thoughts were expressed, but the willingness of some people to go to the mat for every one of the beliefs they hold dear enthralls me every bit as much as would an impending train wreck (not that I'd ever award the Aardie to a train wreck). I'll leave it to others to track down all the venues where posts were made and comments left behind, but will give you a bit of the flavor of the extreme passion (The Accuser Strikes Again at Theomony), the thoughtful tangents (Mortal and Venial Sins from Daylight), and the conciliatory, pastoral, yet firm and dogmatic (Talking about Sanctification and the Lutheran Blogosphere: Some Conclusions, Respectfully and Prayerfully Offered at Cyberbrethren).

Quite possibly, the only "good" divorce is A Christmas Divorce. At least Pastor Paul Siems states a strong case for that claim at Not Alone.

Simil iustus et peccator (at the same time saint and sinner) is one of the basic theological tenets of the heirs of Wittenberg. Several Lutheran blogs, including Ask the Pastor, Amor et Labor, and Confessing Evangelical have written specifically about it. Now Post-Emergent joins the ranks with Law and Gospel: Saint and Sinner, an excellent piece that works alone but belongs with several other posts on the general theme of Law and Gospel. Truly, the entire series is Aardie-worthy (or more); good job, Chris!

For something truly different, come with me as we take a walk on the wild water side. Actually, this walk (or run) is on the top side of the water as Not Quite Art, Not Quite Living introduces us to a little-known law of physics in Cornstarch and Water. I agree with the commenter who said of the video referenced in this post, "Strangely, that actually feels like four minutes of my life well spent."

Finally, Necessary Roughness tackles a topic near and dear to this aanonymous aardvark's heart. Dan initiated quite a discussion when he wrote On Pseudonymous Bloggers, as the post drew a good cross-section of comments from readers pro and con. Obviously, I favor the judicious use of the pseudonym. To my way of thinking, Alan Smithee had good reason to hide his real name and Publius did a masterful job of promoting the new American republic while shielding Hamilton, Madison, and Jay. Personally, if I never knew that Mark Twain was really Sam Clemens, George Sand actually Amandine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, or Junker Jörg a mask worn by Martin Luther, I think that I would still respect and accept their writings at face value. Indeed, I wholeheartedly profess that the pseudonymous Mark Twain displayed many times the writing ability of a man who possibly should have hidden his true identity. I have in mind one Fenimore Cooper, whose Literary Offenses Twain so ably pilloried.

Keep on writing the good stuff and please remember, winners are invited to link back to this post so more people can discover the wonderful breadth of fine blogging the Aardies seek to expose.

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  I Still Love Marriage ...

Kelly's post on Church Weddings was the blogging equivalent of a "fastball down the middle" or "preaching to the choir." She reminded me exactly why I Love Marriage … It's Weddings I Can't Stand.

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  All That Glitters Is not Gold a Globe

Small Golden Aardvark AawardStay tuned for tonight's aalternative aawards program as the Golden Aardvarks go head-to-head (sort of) with the Golden Globes.

Several worthy posts are now lined up, pending my time and lack of distraction. If all works out, the latest round of AARDIE winners will be revealed live on this stage tonight as a breathless blogosphere awaits.

And if things don't work out, we'll try again tomorrow. I don't have any big network advertisers to complain if the schedule gets juggled.

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  A Confessional Decline in the Blogosphere?
or, I Sense a Disturbance in the Force

The Theology Geek weighs in with this observation: "The Confessional Lutheran Blogosphere, I believe, is on the decline at the moment." In the comments, Dan @ NR says, "While I would agree that some very good writers have left the Blogosphere, there are new ones also popping up."

What say you? Are we advancing, declining, or holding our own?

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  The Surviving Lutheran Ladies

Lest we forget, Lutheran Survivor continues pitting men and women who have at least a tenuous Lutheran connection and who come from various vocations and time periods against each other in a series of humorous popularity contests. The current "battle" is for supremacy among Lutheran actresses. As of this post, three remain: Loni Anderson, Kirsten Dunst, and Ann-Margret. Already voted off: Sally Struthers.

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14 January 2007
  Lutheran Carnival XLI Scores Big

Dan at Necessary Roughness kicks off the 2007 Lutheran Carnival season with an American football theme, plus comments on one of his favorite Lutheran hymn writers, Philipp Nicolai. So sit down with Lutheran Carnival XLI: The Post Season and catch up on some of the recent good writing in the confessional Lutheran blogosphere.

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12 January 2007
  Three Important Works of Contemporary Theology

I came across John H's meme on contemporary theology at Confessing Evangelical and decided to give it a go. The meme says, "Name three (or more) theological works from the last 25 years (1981-2006) that you consider important and worthy to be included on a list of the most important works of theology of that last 25 years (in no particular order)."

As John sort of notes, "Yeah, right!" (Ok, that was a Yank paraphrase.) And, like John, while I maintain an ongoing moratorium on tags, I'll follow his lead and give this meme a whack.

1. Whether clergy or laity, almost anyone in Christianity can benefit greatly by reading Harold Senkbeil, a man I think stands among the forefront of recent confessional Lutheran writers. I particularly recommend Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness (1994). Few books old or new do a better job of describing how the cross of Christ gives form to the believer's life. While oft-times a sharp critic of sins, evils, and errors in modern society and Christendom, Senkbeil remains at heart a parish pastor and keeps his pastor's heart open to those in need. While not a "how-to" book, Dying to Live certainly shows how a true Christian lifestyle flows from a life of forgiving and being forgiven.

2. Important in a much more negative sense is The Da Vinci Code (2003). Much ink and countless millions of electrons have been wasted by the books defenders and, even more so, by its critics. Yet for all its sloppy scholarship and speculation passed off as truth, and in spite of its open agenda against orthodox Christology, the Code did more than have most pastors and theologians of recent past in sending Christians back to Scripture and deeper theological study.

3. My final entry is not "a" book but rather a series still in the making. That would be the Concordia Commentaries from Concordia Publishing House. Only a handful of the final total has been published so far. And for a while, production slowed so much that it seemed that we'd never realize a completed collection of commentaries from CPH. However, volumes are once again making regular appearances and my hopes are higher than they've been in some time that I'll eventually own a set covering the entire canon. God willing, maybe they'll stick with it long enough to produce a few volumes on the Apocrypha, too.

From my first reading of the initial volume of Dr. Art Just's commentary on Luke, I've been hooked. Top scholars, good writing, crack editing, and a certain consistency of style mark all the books I own so far. The use of graphics to flag thematic content provides visual breaks on the pages while also making it easy to focus on the points that both the modern writer and the Biblical author are trying to make. Also, after battling through liberal commentaries and conservative works from the Reformed and Roman Catholic perspectives, it's an absolute joy to be able to study the Scriptures hand in hand with those who share my Christological assumptions concerning the entire canon.

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10 January 2007
  Another BBOV Deletion

After I did last night's big update, a reader told me that Pastor Disaster & the Backsliders had disappeared since the last time I took a lap around the blogroll. Please remove the blog from your rolls so the spam site to which the url now redirects doesn't get a lot of hits.

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  + Basil the Great of Caesarea +
1 January AD 379

with Gregory of Nazianzus, 9 May AD 389
and Gregory of Nyssa, 9 March AD 395

Basil the GreatSaints Basil and the two Gregorys, collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers, were leaders of Christian orthodoxy in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in the later fourth century. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers; Gregory Nazianzus, Patriarch of Constantinople, was their friend. All three were influential in shaping the theology ratified by the Council of Constantinople of 381, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed.

Their defense of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and Holy Trinity, together with their contributions to the liturgy of the Eastern Church, make them among the most influential Christian teachers and theologians of their time. Their knowledge and wisdom continues to be heard and known in the Christian Church today.

Please note that this day of celebration was chosen by The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod for its list of commemorations. Basil is remembered in the East on his heavenly birthday (death date) while the West traditionally celebrated him on 14 June, the anniversary of his consecration. Recently, Roman Catholicism has adopted 2 January. However, the LCMS has chosen to remember Wilhelm Loehe on that date and translated Basil to an open day, while also combining the observation with those of the two with whom he worked so closely.

Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus were two of the four Eastern theologians among the eight great Doctors of the undivided Church. The other two were Athanasius and John Chrysostom. The four great early Western (or Latin) doctors were Augustine, Jerome, Gregory the Great, and Ambrose of Milan.

Lection

Psalm 139:1-9 or 34:1-8
Wisdom 7:7-14
1 Corinthians 2:6-13
Luke 10:21-24

Collect

Almighty God, who revealed to Your Church Your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in a Trinity of Persons, give us grace that, like Your servants Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who live and reign one God, now and forever.

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09 January 2007
  BBOV MMVII: The Beginning
Introducing the Year's First Blogroll Updates

BBOV by St. CharlesTime waits for no man and blogroll changes wait for no Aardvark. So here are our first additions, changes, and (sigh) deletions to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©. We'll add six, change two, and delete three. Of these, some involve the "Other Blogs" category while others are confessional Lutheran specific.

To find out more about the BBOV and the benefits of listing each others' blogs, please read the first three links under Aurous Effluence in the sidebar. Those who'd like the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© can either email me or copy the list from the Alley's source code (click View | Page Source or Control+U in Firefox or View | Source in Internet Explorer).

Before announcing the updates, I'd like to put in another plug for joining the Ecosystem at The Truth Laid Bear. As detailed in Building a Lutheran Presence; Part 2, this is one way to increase traffic and raise your blog's profile among random surfers and, especially, on the search engines. Plus, it's the only Aardvark-aaproved way to "evolve."

Meet the New Neighbors

Five relatively new blogs join the BBOV's confessional Lutheran listings. Please give a warm Alley welcome to Bad Carol: Carol Rutz's Own Blog, LongEyeMoose, Looking Well to the Ways of the Household, Mark Nispel: Nebraska Latinist, and Upstate Lutheran.

We'll also move a blog up from the "Other" category in just a moment, but let's first meet a final site for this section, newly listed among the "Other Blogs." While not Lutheran-only, One Apostolic and Catholic Church features the perspective of Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and the Reformed writers as well as the teachings of early Christianity.

Two Major Changes

Next are a couple changes. First of all, Living in Canaan has a new URL that you'll need to change. Then, I invite you who list the whole blogroll to please move The Sectarian Strand up from the "Other Blogs" to the "Confessional Lutheran" ranks. If you only list the Lutherans, then please add the Mild Colonial Boy, Esq.'s labour of love to your links.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

We bid farewell to one of the "Other Blogs," the Carib Pundit, and to two former "Confessional Lutherans." One of these, Orthodox Lutheran, is completely gone. The other, ProtoEvangel, is also gone — to the Orthodox Church (sigh, again).

For these and all others enrolled in the BBOV, links back are certainly appreciated. And don't forget that all of those listed benefit when you use the entire blogroll. Also, if you'd like to graphically point to the Alley and the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©, you may use the above design from St. Charles Place or one of these blog buttons:
Each of these buttons measures 80x15 pixels. Should you choose to use one, please link back to either the main Aardvark Alley URL or else to the post What Is the BBOV.

Finally, 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 a comment. And again, 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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07 January 2007
  The Baptism of Our Lord
The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Baptism of JesusThe Baptism of our Lord (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:4-11; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22) is celebrated the first Sunday after the Epiphany. Christians remember how John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit assumed the form of a dove and came down to rest on Jesus' head while the voice of the Father spoke from the heavens, saying, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. (Mark 1:11)"

This is the first adult appearance of our Lord recorded in Holy Scripture. Prior to His baptism, the last we hear of Him was following His return from the temple as a twelve year old boy. Luke records, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (2:52)"

Baptismal StarFollowing His baptism, "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. (Mark 1:12)" There He remained for forty days of fasting and temptation by Satan. Once the time of temptation was over, Jesus entered into His public ministry as He called the disciples, worked miracles, preached and taught, forgave sins, and prepared Himself for the suffering and death awaiting Him.

With John, we might wonder why Jesus came to be baptized (Matthew 3:14). However, Jesus told him, "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15)" Jesus' baptism publicly marked Him as God's Anointed One (Messiah or Christ). While He had no sins of which to repent, He identified Himself as one of us by being baptized.

Lection

Psalm 29
Isaiah 43:1-7
Romans 6:1-11
Luke 3:15-22

Collect

Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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06 January 2007
  The Epiphany of Our Lord
6 January, New Testament

Epiphany StarThe Epiphany season begins today, with the Feast of the Epiphany. This day celebrates the the Wise Men bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child.

The word Epiphany means "showing" or "manifestation" and the entire season from today until the beginning of Lent deals in one way with the ways in which Jesus was shown to be the Christ, either by His own words and deeds or by the actions of the Father and the Holy Spirit (as in His baptism). The hymn Songs of Thankfulness and Praise (printed below) praises many of these manifestations and anticipates that last, great Epiphany, when Jesus manifests Himself visibly before all mankind and brings His Church home to eternal glory.

In much of the world, Epiphany, not Christmas, is a day for giving gifts to family and friends. Rather than using the day in which the Father gave His Son to a sin-darkened and unxepecting world, many nations choose the day celebrating the gifts the Wise Men brought the Christ Child as a day of giving gifts to their own children (and to others). This Wikipedia article details some of the religious and cultural practices of the day. Of course, some countries are done with the presents before Christmas; they choose Saint Nicholas Day on 6 December as the time of giving gifts.

Ask the Pastor has several of posts pertaining to the Epiphany. Among them are a hymn and a discussion about the number and names of the Magi. You may search his blog for other Epiphany-related articles.

Lection

Psalm 72
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Collect

O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
  1. Songs of thankfulness and praise,
    Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,
    Manifested by the star
    To the sages from afar,
    Branch of royal David's stem,
    In Thy birth at Bethlehem.
    Anthems be to Thee addressed
    God in man made manifest.

  2. Manifest at Jordan's stream,
    Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,
    And at Cana, Wedding-guest,
    In Thy Godhead manifest;
    Manifest in power divine,
    Changing water into wine.
    Anthems be to Thee addressed
    God in man made manifest.

  3. Manifest in making whole
    Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
    Manifest in valiant fight,
    Quelling all the devil's might;
    Manifest in gracious will,
    Ever bringing good from ill.
    Anthems be to Thee addressed,
    God in man made manifest.

  4. Sun and moon shall darkened be,
    Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
    Christ will then like lightning shine,
    All will see His glorious sign;
    All will then the trumpet hear,
    All will see the Judge appear;
    Thou by all wilt be confessed,
    God in man made manifest.

  5. Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
    Mirrored in Thy holy Word;
    May we imitate Thee now
    And be pure as pure art Thou
    That we like to Thee may be
    At Thy great Epiphany
    And may praise Thee, ever blest,
    God in man made manifest.


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04 January 2007
  Unless He Changes Quickly ...

... I shall quickly drop ProtoEvangel from the BBOV, since, evidently, he has dropped Lutheran from his beliefs.

Who are these 21st Century lightning rod salesman who've slipped amongst the Evangelicals and sold such a large batch of faulty compasses, all pointing due east?

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  Of Books and their Covers
(Not to Mention Beholders' Eyes)



HT: Rebellious Pastor's Wife

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