Common-sense Ten Commandments

If we pray the Ten Commandments each night before going to bed, then we’d see their actual importance for our lives. When we recognize our failures in each of the commands of God to the Israelites, we see ourselves as sinners who are not only are in need of forgiveness, but also of guidance to be better people.

In this morning’s Your View section of the Editorial page, a writer from Paramus states that as we enter the New Year, we all pray and hope that the world will become a better place. I don’t think many people say to themselves, “You know, I want this new year to be miserable for everyone.” Most of us do hope that the coming year is better for us as individuals, but also for others.

We all want our hopes to overcome the sadness.

The letter writer gets it.

The Ten Commandments are an authoritative guide to our everyday behavior.

In my sermons recently, I’ve preached on the importance of living one’s faith, expressing the love of God in words and deeds. See, the center of the Christian heart is on the confession of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and what it means for us individually. When we confess God in words and deeds, we are saying something about what God has done for us – saving us from the eternity away from Him and creating in us a new person each day where we love God above all things and love one another without condition.

The Ten Commandments stress these points out clearly. In the first three commandments, we are shown the importance of putting God above everything, of respecting and loving HIm like He has loved us, of receiving Him and responding to His love as we worship Him. When God is at the center of our lives, we are different. We hold onto God’s grace and love and mercy and announce it to others. No matter our lots in life, we trust God through everything.

The remaining commandments show us the same point of the first three: We are to love and respect all people. Of course, the hard part is doing it because there are way too many people who get on our nerves. God wants us to be His agents of love and mercy and grace in this world. The specific commandments show us how we are kind and merciful and gracious and loving to others.

As the letter writer wrote, the world would be a better place if we all tried to follow the commandments.

Police Chaplaincy – No Religious Training Required.

NOTE: This is NOT a political post.

The New York Post today published a story about a donor of New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio named Jona Rechnitz who admitted that he donated money to the mayor to gain political access.

Rechnitz and his buddies donated lots of money to many politicians to have an inside track to attain political favors. Honestly, not surprising since that is why big money people donate lots of money to politicians. They don’t give without expecting something in return.

One of the said receivers of Rechnitz’ financial heft was Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who is seeking re-election this fall. According to the Post, “Rechnitz donated $15,000 to Astorino’s political war chest and once chipped in up to $8,000 to buy him a Rolex watch, he said.”

But it was the following that really caught my eye:

(Astorino) Helped Rechnitz and his pal Jeremy Reichberg become chaplains for the Westchester County Police Department, despite the fact that they were not clergymen, Rechnitz claimed.

Huh?

Politicians do weird things, at times, but giving a chaplaincy to people who weren’t clergy? It kind of defeats the purpose of having a chaplain, doesn’t it?

Luther, Trump.

I’m just saying, but never trust a Roman Catholic priest trying to explain the Lutheran Reformation while comparing the leader of said Reformation, Martin Luther, to President Donald Trump.

Plus, whenever the “Luther hated the Jews” or the not used a lot “Luther hated the Muslims” mantra comes up from a Roman Catholic priest, there is an easy response: The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church did nothing and said nothing to stop Hitler from trying to exterminate the Jews, and it was the Roman Catholic Church who led the Crusades to kill the Muslims.

Just saying.

Let’s be honest – show me an anti-Semitic Lutheran Church. You can’t. Lutherans believe and want all people to come to faith in Jesus Christ. This is and has always been our mission, one that was given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28. Luther’s anti-Jewish writings and his anti-Muslim writings are his own. They are not mine. Luther was not perfect. None of us are. We are not God-like or equal to God (like the Roman Catholic Church believed at one time the Pope was). All of us do and say dumb things, at times. Luther was not immune from it.

We Lutherans follow God’s Word as the core of our lives and faith. I can’t get to heaven because I may have read and believe one of Luther’s Table Talk writings.

I only get to heaven by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Continue reading “Luther, Trump.”

Life is Precious.

I received an email note last night from someone calling themselves “the millennial queen,” whatever that means. All I know is that the queen is a freshman in college in Milwaukee. At least that is what she wrote. Her note contained the following hypothetical:

“Pastor, imagine for a moment you’re in a fertility clinic and there is a raging fire all around you. Behind one door, you hear a screaming child. The door to the adjacent room has a container of 1,000 fertilized eggs. You can save only one. Do you save the child or the eggs?”

The motivation behind the hypothetical story is that if a pro-lifer chooses to save the child over the fertilized eggs, then the argument that “life begins at conception” is futile since you could have saved a thousand “children” over the one child behind the door.

And yes, the question was a little odd since she wrote that the door to the adjacent room had the eggs, not the eggs being in the room.

My response: “So, if I save the child, then I’m a hypocrite, and if I save the eggs, I am a … what?A cold-hearted killer? ”

“Let’s play hypothetical for a moment. You’re in a preschool and there is an out of control fire all around you. In one room, you have a crying little boy. The other room, a crying little girl. All things being equal, you only have time to save one child. Whom do you choose? If you choose the girl, does that make you a sexist?

Continue reading “Life is Precious.”