Settled in the sand. Sun on her shoulder. Sweet quiet wind across the shoreline. Steady and constant whisper of waves running wet fingers up the beach could barely touch her. Laying there, just far enough away from the fondling foam to feel its icy shock on the tips of toes. In and out, water breaking, reaching, falling back into the deep expanse.

One of the struggles I have as the pastor of a congregation as I attempt to lead, or shepherd the flock, through times of great turmoil and confusion deals with the public face of the ministry itself. On just the surface level of things, the stuff most people see, should I be the calm strong voice of unmoved determination, assuring everyone that it will be alright? Should I just mimic the words of the rest of society and say, “This too shall pass,” or, “We’re all in this together,”

Who am I? I am a daughter and sister, but not always a great one. I love my family dearly, but I am pretty bad at remembering to call regularly and check in on how everyone is doing. I am a professional, usually. I work hard at being a good leader and example, but too often I allow myself to fall into idle gossip and complaining. I am an American, but not the best. I consider it a privilege to live in this country, though I frequently fail in my civic duties.

Identity theft is a modern crime that can ruin not only a person’s bank account but their life! Simon Bunce of Hampshire, England not only had his credit-card number stolen on-line but was arrested and falsely accused of being a pedophile when his card number was used to buy child pornography. Fortunately, the story has a somewhat happy ending, as Bunce was eventually cleared by the police.

Dear God, I can’t pray to you. It wouldn’t be right.  You listen to the prayers of your loyal people. Those whom you love. Those who listen to you. You want me to be good, you wanted me to act like your child, and I haven’t. You want me to honor you in thought words and deed, but my faith is not strong enough. You want me to love you above all things. I don’t. I don’t want to. And I’m not interested in making a change anytime soon. So I understand, there is no reason why you should listen to me now.

A fisherman casts his net in a wide arc upon the service of the water. As it begins to sink below the surface the boat slowly moves to trawl the net under the surface of the sea. It creates a large pocket like the mouth of a whale as it scoops up everything in its path. Eventually, when it seems weighted and full, or at least the set time has passed, they begin to haul in their load.

By – John W. Hoyum

A kind of revisionist history has come to surround the issue of “radical Lutheranism,” taking aim especially at the theology of Gerhard Forde. Forde’s work has been particularly notable in recent years for his interpretation of Luther’s law-gospel distinction, the theology of the cross, and the relevance of proclamation for Christian theology. Unfortunately, Forde’s contribution has become a symbol of encroaching liberalism in confessional Lutheran circles. Yet this narrative of blaming Forde isn’t quite accurate. An examination of the origins of “radical Lutheranism” and the details of Forde’s own background will, I hope, help to set the record straight.