By Scott Keith

Early Life and Education:

Philip(p) was born to George and Barbara Schwarzerdt in Bretten in 1497. Philip had four siblings: Anna (1499), Georg (1500 or 1501), Margarete (1506), and Barbara (1508). All were born in his grandparents’ house in the Electoral Saxon Residential town of Bretten. Melanchthon’s father, Georg Schwarzerdt, born in Heidelberg, was a master of gunnery founding and was skilled in forging lightweight, durable armor. Because of his skills, Georg was elevated to the office of electoral master of armorer and thus needed to remain in Heidelberg. Melanchthon’s mother, Barbara, came from the wealthy merchant family of Reuter.

By Scott Keith

Yesterday I taught a class on Philip Melanchthon at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Frasier, Michigan. At the end of class, I was asked if I would recommend a short biography on Melanchthon suitable for a layperson. Sadly, I said no. Most of the short biographies are out of print and very expensive, and most the modern works are written for academic audiences. So, I decided to do a short series as a brief introduction to the life and times of Philip Melanchthon. As we continue to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I think that this series of blogs will be helpful and pair nicely with the two forthcoming Thinking Fellows podcasts on Melanchthon.

By Scott Keith

(Hello, blogosphere. This little piece of satire was sent to me by a former student who for understandable reasons wishes to remain nameless. I hope you enjoy his first contribution to The Jagged Word.)

My First Lutheran Cruise:

Day 1: Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you so much for buying my ticket to the S.S.S.S.S.F.S.G. (Steam Ship Sola Scriptura Sola Fide Sola Gratia) Luther; I’m having a really good time on the open seas. I’m normally afraid of the ocean, but I feel safe and secure within the theologically reinforced hull of this LCMS-sanctioned cruise ship. There are even a couple windows in case anyone decides to look outside. However, that rarely happens since there is so much great stuff happening inside. I was grateful to find out that my room was in the very back of the boat. Actually, now that I think of it, that’s where most of the people are staying. I heard rumors that there might be some rooms near the front of the boat, but I believe that they are mostly unoccupied or filled with the few non-Lutherans that are on the cruise. 

By Scott Keith

(I will be teaching a breakout session at the forthcoming Mockingbird Conference. This blog is a foretaste of that lecture. Enjoy. Please check out the Mockingbird Conference and register. See ya there!)

Dynamite does one thing well; it blows stuff up. Dynamite is no more than an absorbent material, such as sawdust, soaked in a highly combustible chemical called nitroglycerin. The absorbent material makes the nitroglycerin much more stable. Attached to the nitroglycerin-infused sawdust is either a fuse or a blasting cap. Once lit, the fuse or cap creates a small explosion that triggers a larger explosion in the dynamite itself. Once ignited, the dynamite burns extremely rapidly and produces a large amount of hot gas in the process. The hot gas expands very quickly and applies pressure and thus blows up or explodes.

By Scott Keith

This winter has been a whirlwind of teaching gigs for me, most of which being centered around the subject matter of my book, Being Dad – Father as a Picture of God’s Grace. Therein, I argue that being a dad means being a mouthpiece of grace and an obscure voice of empathy to his children. In part, this means that dads are called to provide a little magic. The unexpected yes. The hoped for but seldom granted release from the doldrums of day-to-day life. The “I forgive you” when “I condemn you” is what is expected and warranted.

By Scott Keith

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25

When I’m not traveling for work, I like to spend as much time as possible in the mountains at our little cabin in the woods. Quite simply, it recharges me. The work needed to keep the place up, starting the fire in the morning, the slower pace of life, and the natural beauty all bring me a sense of calm and peace that I don’t always possess when I’m “down the hill.” I have always thought of the mountains as home, and so whenever possible, I follow the well know mantra uttered by Jon Muir: “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”

By Scott Keith

A few years ago at the very tail end of my vacation, Joy and I took all of our children and Dr. Mallinson’s son, Auggie Mallinson, to Yosemite. While Joy and I have been several times, by mere coincidence of timing and obligation, most of our children have not seen the grandeur of the Yosemite Valley. Joy, Autumn, and I left Dr. Rosenbladt’s house in Portland and drove to meet everyone else (Caleb, Erika, Joshua, and Auggie) at the Bass Lake resort just outside of Yosemite. We had fun at Bass Lake driving Jet Skis and cooling off in the now almost completely empty lake. Bass Lake is fun, but it is no Yosemite.