By Ross Engel

Growing up in the greater Chicagoland area, one didn’t measure distance by miles. Distance was always measured in the amount of time it took to get somewhere. For example, when my wife and I were dating, I never would have said, “We live about 70 miles away from each other.” Instead, I would’ve said something like, “We live an hour away from each other.” Traffic and road types were always factored into the amount of time it took to get somewhere, since ten miles on one road might go by faster than five miles on another.

By Ross Engel

For twenty years now, I’ve had the same pair of companions accompanying me to the gym. My wife can’t stand them. They’re old, they smell like sweat and maple syrup, and they push me beyond the limits of what I can do on my own. Well, today my wife can rejoice, because those companions are no more. They ripped during my morning session in the gym.

By Ross Engel

Recently Paul wrote about Confirmation and hating the way it has been utilized as a sort of silver bullet to make up for years of no catechesis taking place at home. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read his words. My Sunday morning Bible study and I recently had had an in-depth conversation about the need for parents to step up to the plate and teach their own children the faith, so it was a timely article.

By Ross Engel

My wife walked slowly up the aisle of the church; she was dressed in black, my seven-month-old son James on her hip and my three-year -old daughter excitedly holding her hand. The eyes of all those gathered watched her as they came forward. There was a slight gasp from the front row as she picked up our three-year-old and leaned over the casket so that Eliana could get a better look at “Mr. Art.” After a few sweet words, they took their place, sitting with the rest of the congregation, and awaiting the beginning of the funeral service.

By Ross Engel

This week was Call Week at our two seminaries. Both St. Louis and Ft. Wayne placed vicars, deaconess interns, deaconess candidates, and candidates for the Office of the Holy Ministry into congregations. Last night, two of our Ft. Wayne “Bell Ringers,” Greg Bauch and Michael Daniels, received their placement assignments for their first Calls into the Office of the Holy Ministry. What an exciting time for them both!

By Ross Engel

Strumpet. Now that’s a word one doesn’t hear very often. Shakespeare used it in Othello and Jack Sparrow used it in Pirates of the Caribbean. If you’re not familiar with the word, perhaps you’ve heard “harlot,” “hussy,” or “demimondaine.” All these words share one thing in common: they refer to ladies of the night—someone who sells themselves for pleasure. They are euphemisms for the title “whore.”

One of my favorite professors in seminary often would say, “The church is the bride of Christ, not the culture’s whore.” Recently I found myself recalling the sentiment and considering this juxtaposition.