Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Ignoring the Ideal - Quote from Theodore Schmauk - Comfort for Christians:
Ignoring the Ideal - Quote from Theodore Schmauk
4 minute read
As is the case with every other noble work of God and every other noble product of time, it is possible to write down the Augsburg Confession to the level of a mere historical document, transient and temporary, and filled with the imperfections, the lower motives, and the ambiguities of its occasion. But this attempt, like that of all similar effort to weaken and disfigure the great and authoritative monuments and abiding instruments of the race, such instruments as the Magna Carta, the American Declaration of Independence, by overlooking the permanency and overestimating the occasional character of their causes, is a historical perversion.
The attempt to drag down and cheapen the great Confessional standards of our faith, by pointing out and emphasizing the human passions and motives that may have animated the men who were active in their formation, by elaborating and laying stress on the incidental occasions, which, in the hand of Providence, are often slight and minor or even unworthy, instead of upon the real underlying cause; and by surrounding the real standard of Truth attained and confessed, with the great multitude of inferior, unfinished and unsuccessful propositions, and the counterfeits, which nearly always swarm round about a genuine and great work of truth, is not a worthy one, and is not writing history in the true sense of the term.
This attempt has been made against every standard of historical greatness. In our own country, George Washington has been written down to the level of a common, coarse, and unworthy humanity. Cheap side-lights thrown upon the framing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States often have set these instruments in the glare of an unworthy and common-place coloring. The attempt has been made to reduce the divinity of our Lord to an elevated humanity by gathering round about Him great men, e. g., the religious founders of a hoary orient, who apparently stand forth as His equals. The same attempt has been made to write down the history of Israel and its religion to the level of the other ethnic communities around it. The Sermon on the Mount itself, has, according to these depreciators, been proven to be no more than a chrestomathy of the choicest sayings of pagan antiquity.
In any sphere, it is nearly always possible, by judicious selection, to raise up a multitude of the second best and the counterfeit productions of a people or a religion in such a way as to disparage, and apparently to take away the supremacy of the original. For the original, despite its greatness, its truth and its purity, cannot escape, so long as it is in this world, showing some contact with the sin and weakness of human nature.
But the great question in deciding on the real merits of an acknowledged standard is not how far it can be weakened down, or how near it comes in certain points to its inferiors. To attempt to show this is not in accord with a true historical method, but is essentially the method of skepticism, used for purposes of undermining faith in that which is really good. The question is not whether the foundation is covered with the shifting sands of time, or is strewn with the defective spawls2 and rejected boulders of the workshop, but the question is whether, beneath all these, the real solid rock is still standing. The effort to level and destroy men’s faith in the Word of God, in miracle, in the Person of Christ, in the Lord’s Supper, in the great and wholesome political, historical, or Confessional foundations of the past is at the very least pessimistic, and owes its origin to something outside of genuine Faith.
If the comparative method is to be applied to the Augsburg Confession and the Symbols of the Church, let it bring forth the clear distinction between the genuine Confession and the defective compromises that were constantly being put forth by wavering confessors within the Church.
He is a poor interpreter of pure art who would set up the perfectly chiseled and immortal statue amid the partly hewn and rejected blocks that had been its companions previous to its completion; and would strew it over with the chips and the dust which had fallen from it in the sculptor’s shop, and would say to us: See, it is no more and no better than the varied and motley stones from which it has sprung.
-Theodore Schmauk. The Confessional Principle. Chapter 19, Providence and the Augustana. pp. 428-430.
The Confessional Principle is now being prepared for publication as an e-book.
Originally published at: Comfort for Christians"
'via Blog this'
The full color edition of The Sermons of Martin Luther, Volume II, is now published.
The Kindle e-book version of The Sermons of Martin Luther, Volume II, is also available, and naturally, it is full color too.
The no-excuses edition of Luther's Sermons, Volume II, black and white interior, is also in print now.
The author's price is much less than the retail, especially in the full-color version. I used the retail links because clicking on them will increase visibility on the Internet. Everyone has a book about Luther this year, but clearly, few are reading his sermons. The professors are the worst in this category.
Posting a review will greatly increase the results of Google searches. Some are doing posting their reviews.
So will clicking on my Amazon Author's Page.
I will sending out copies of Volume II now. I was waiting for the black and white one to finish - another glitch - but settled. When all the print titles are done, the full color versions will be named
- The Sermons of Martin Luther on Amazon.
and the black and white student economy editions will be named
- Luther's Sermons on Amazon.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
|Those Days on the Farm|
Those Days on the Farm - Norma A. Boeckler - Print Version
Those Days on the Farm - Norma A. Boeckler - Kindle e-Book
| Norma A. Boeckler is our artist-in-residence|
at Bethany Lutheran Church.
This is her art website.
A number of people have asked me, "How do you know Norma Boeckler?" That happened again in Perryville, Missouri, when the LCMS pastor asked that question. She is a member of our congregation and lives in Midland, Michigan, where we also lived for six years. However, we did not know her at that time.
Various events among Lutherans led a number of us to form an independent Lutheran congregation. Norma is not only our member, but also our artist-in-residence, designing the covers and interiors of our books, providing an endless number of Scripture illustrations for those books, the classes I teach, and her Facebook audience.
My wife Christina thought I was a city guy until I suddenly identified the inner farmer in me, during our years in Midland, 1982-1987, devoured the organic gardening books at Grace Dow Library, and began writing about the subject.
| This is Norma Boeckler's garden in Midland, Michigan.|
Her Amazon page is here.
Books about growing up on a farm fascinate me, and they should interest everyone, because America was once mostly rural. I encouraged Norma to carry out her intention to write this - and soon it was done.
Those Days on the Farm is a portrait of family farming. I considered a stay at the farm of my Uncle Howard Noel and Aunt Grace quite a treat when I was growing up. The memories - and farm equipment - in this book are familiar to me and stir up many happy memories.
Another treat in this book is not only the past but the present of the farm. Norma's sister took over the farm and transformed it in various ways, so the past has merged into the present.
The first story tells how Norma did not like milking, so her sister got to do that work. Norma stayed in to do the kitchen work, so one day her sister Marian kept ordering pancake after pancake, to get even. They still laugh about that episode.
Some memories are not pleasant. The barn burned down and Norma watched the tragedy unfold from a block away, while she was at school. A greater sadness is the loss of her mother when Norma was only one year old. From that loss came a lot of time spent drawing and the unfolding of many different creative talents.
Norma's father worked at Dow Chemical, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, and the family farm at the same time. Many with small farms did the same, keeping a non-farm job to produce cash year-around. That meant everyone had work to do, but the children growing up this way learned many skills, developed a can-do attitude, and still had time to play in idyllic surroundings.
The loss of practical knowledge about God's Creation is obvious everywhere. I bought two Salvia plants for for their appeal to bees. There were on clearance at Walmart because the poor things were almost dead. I told the cashier, "I will revive them in rainwater." Cashier, "Rainwater, as in water than fell as rain? How do you do that?" I told her, "Buckets catch the rain from the roof and I use that to revive plants and strengthen special plants." Cashier - "How does that work?" I explained, "The rain contains natural fertilizer and no bleach." She said, "Bleach?" I went on to say, "Yes, they use chlorine gas to purify tap water, but rain water is free of that and works better. Tap water is OK, but rain is the best." Cashier - "And you think that will work?"
One Midland farmer told me, "I pity the children who never grew up on a farm. There are countless lessons no one could ever teach them in school."
That is why Norma Boeckler is an artist of God's Creation. She grew up surrounded by the beauty and realities of the farm, and that became the foundation for all her work.
One of my jobs on the farm was watching the cows graze in a field without a fence several days a week. As a budding artist, I saw many interesting wild flowers and trees in the field that I could spend time drawing. Putting my imagination to work, I created pictures, using old pieces of slab wood left behind from the old saw mill. They worked perfectly as a drawing board. And I used old rotted stump pieces that had turned to chalk for drawing.
Boeckler, Norma. Those Days on the Farm (p. 3). Kindle Edition.
Most people will smile warmly as they read this book. Most of us drawing some kind of retirement had far more experience outdoors than the kids today. One neighbor shook her head in wonder at me when I walked our dog Sassy on a cold, snowing, icy day. Living in Arkansas means hiding inside until the snow melts.
Children stay indoors when it is too cold and also when it is too hot. I know the weather is perfect when children are playing outdoors. But that obscures the changes caused by the weather and lessons learned from the definite signs and warnings of Creation.
Explanations - Like the Separator
The separator machine, was a needed item on the farm that I learned how to use. It had a large metal bowl and two separate spouts, the milk would be poured into the separator bowl, and the handle had to be turned for a long time, until finally, the cream would separate from the milk and come out its spout into a cream can and the skim milk came out the other spout into another can. They call that centrifugal force.
Boeckler, Norma. Those Days on the Farm (p. 4). Kindle Edition.
I remember Aunt Grace showing me the separator on their farm. She was amused that I thought she was giving me cream on my cereal. That was whole milk! My mother loved whipped cream but she thought skim milk was better for us children. Aunt Grace learned how much I loved cream, so I had cream on my cereal every day after that. Grace was correctly named, because she smiled all the time, patient and understanding with her city-slicker visitor.
Norma has combines her memories of the separator with its origin and the general work involving the dairy cattle. They even had a butter churn to turn the cream into butter. Photographs make the book even more interesting.
The Farm Continues
One of the best parts of the book is the continuing story of that farm, since Norma's older sister Marian bought the farm and worked it with her husband until he passed away. Now the farm itself is rented out and the new home is remodeled for current needs. The original farmhouse burned down from an electrical problem.
This personal history will always be valuable to Midland historians and Norma's extended family. Most of us do not have that much information about where our parents worked and grew up.
Norma's early adult life is also interesting. She met Walter Boeckler, a scientist at Dow Chemical. Together they built the home she lives in now. Walter and Norma supported Lutheran congregations in the area and generously helped the start of independent congregations.
Norma has been invaluable with all of my Amazon books, and she has a list of her own here.
Those Days on the Farm will make a wonderful gift for family and friends at Christmas. Anyone who enjoys farm nostalgia will appreciate the memories and feel the paradoxical joy and sadness of reliving those days.