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Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Weekend in Black & White - November 17, 2017

Ålesund, Norway Church
I'm at the end of the weekend, so a bit late, but better late than never. For more interesting b & w photos, be sure to click here

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Personal life and theology

At least four theologians that I am aware of have been involved in; or allegations have been made against them of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
   As a seminary student, a long time ago, I became aware of Paul Tillich’s sexual infidelity. His wife Hannah did speak of it, even though some claim that they had an agreed upon “open marriage.” When Tillich taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr was apparently upset with Tillich’s attitude toward female students, and he withdrew his friendship from Tillich.
   According to some, Karl Barth was, and still is, considered the most significant 20th century theologian. Yet of late, I read a disturbing piece about his decades-long adulterous relationship with his personal assistant, Charlotte von Kirschbaum. Barth apparently tried to rationalize away this extra-marital relationship, even considering it as God-intended, so much for “Thou shall not commit adultery.” One wonders how his wife felt about it, and why she would continue to tolerate it.
   In North America, for some time now, there have been allegations against Martin Luther King, Jr. too, that he was involved in several extra-marital affairs. Whether or not these can be substantiated, I don’t know.
   More recently, also in North America, there has been coverage of inappropriate sexual behaviour by theologian John Howard Yoder; over one-hundred women were sexually violated.
   I confess this leaves a bad and discouraging impression on me about the theology of these theologians. It raises a difficult ethical question: Should sexual misbehaviour, and in some cases abuse, have an effect on how we regard the theological works of these theologians? If so, how?
   As Lutherans, we have denounced and distanced ourselves from Martin Luther’s horrifying treatises, On the Jews and their lies, and Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants. However, I hazard to guess that most Lutherans don’t write off Luther completely with regards to many of his other writings. Moreover, even though we do not accept or endorse his anti-Semitism, we do appreciate a considerable number of his reforms that he introduced to Christendom.
   So, when we learn of the sins of theologians whom we previously respected; does that change how we regard their theology? If so, how? What do you think? 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekend in Black and White - September 8, 2017

Our ship ms Rotterdam docked at Ålesund, Norway
For more interesting black and white photos from around the world, and/or to share yours click here

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Prayer of the Day/Collect for 13th Sunday after Pentecost Year A

Credit: The Ratner Museum
God our Deliverer: We praise and thank you for calling servant-leaders like Moses to lead your people out of various forms of slavery. We thank and praise you for the apostle Paul, who inspires us to offer hospitality to strangers. We praise and thank you most of all for your Son, Jesus who calls us into the way of the cross that the world might know, see and be transformed with your healing love. In the name of Jesus our brother, friend, Saviour and Messiah, we pray. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Cycling Without Age

Ole Kassow of Copenhagen, Denmark is the founder of a relatively new organization called Cycling Without Age. It is an amazing organization that improves the quality of life for so many seniors. It is also catching on in many countries around the globe, including here in Canada. I like the focus on building inter-generational relationships through this healthy means of cycling. Here's an inspiring video featuring Ole Kassow. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

50 Years Ago: The Beatles' Love Is All You Need

I'm still an incurable Beatles fan after all of these years. Here's a recording of their 1967 song, now 50 years old-Love Is All You Need. This is one of my favourite Beatles songs for a couple of reasons. Theologically it is a 1960's version the love commandment in the Gospel of John and the First Letter of John, at least it is for me. Aesthetically it is brilliant and creative music. The Beatles were pioneers in symphonic rock and progressive rock. I love the symphony orchestra in this song, it blends in so well I think with the singing. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment! 
Beatles - All You Need Is Love from SimDo on Vimeo.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Our trip to beautiful Norway

UNESCO World Heritage Site-Geiranger waterfalls
UNESCO World Heritage Site-Geiranger Fjord

For more interesting photos from around the world, and/or to share yours visit Through my lens

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Reformation in Wittenberg: Part III



In 1522 Luther preached to the citizens of the town a sermon which included these lines:

   Here let us beware lest Wittenberg become Capernaum [cf. Matt. 11:23]. I notice that you have a great deal to say of the doctrine of faith and love which is preached to you, and this is no wonder; an ass can almost intone the lessons, and why should you not be able to repeat the doctrines and formulas? Dear friends, the kingdom of God,—and we are that kingdom—does not consist in talk or words [I Cor. 4:20], but in activity, in deeds, in works and exercises. God does not want hearers and repeaters of words [Jas. 1:22], but followers and doers, and this occurs in faith through love. For a faith without love is not enough—rather it is not faith at all, but a counterfeit of faith, just as a face seen in a mirror is not a real face, but merely the reflection of a face [I Cor. 13:12]. Read the entire piece of Dr. West’s essay here

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Reformation in Wittenberg: Part II

While at the Wartburg, Luther wrote to Melanchthon, among other things, these lines which hint at the reception Luther’s reforming efforts were receiving among the populace:
   I have not abandoned the hope of returning to you, only God must do what is good in his eyes. If the Pope will take steps against all who think as I do, then Germany will not be without uproar. The faster he undertakes this, the faster he and his followers will perish and I shall return. To read the entire piece by Dr. West, click here.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Reformation in Wittenberg: Part I

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Christian History Institute is publishing a three part series of essays by Dr. Jim West on how the citizens of Wittenberg regarded Luther’s reforms, as well as Luther’s remarks about Wittenberg.
   Whilst it is fairly well known how Calvin felt about Geneva and the Genevans, and how they felt about him, it is less widely known what Martin Luther’s attitude towards Wittenberg was.  Yet the town and the Reformer are eternally and everlastingly intertwined.  What was Wittenberg like when Luther lived there and how did the people of the town look upon the new Professor of Bible and his fight with Rome?  How influential were Luther’s efforts and did they make any difference to the townsfolk or were they just more academic churchly squabblings which had little impact on the citizens and their daily lives? Read more here.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Prayer of the Day/Collect Easter Day Year A

Image by Eclecticity
Blessed are you LORD God of all creation: On the dawning of this day you acted in a surprising and powerful way to raise Jesus the Messiah from the dead. Grant us the awe and joy of the women who met you Jesus on the first Easter day, that we may live and speak the message of resurrection and new life; through the same Jesus Christ our risen Saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, through all ages of ages.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Prayer of the Day/Collect for 4th Sunday in Lent, Year A

Lenten cross by Eclecticity
All-seeing God: Long ago Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath as an act of compassion. Remove the blindness from our eyes, hearts and minds, that we may be able to see you at work in our lives and world physically, mentally and spiritually; and help us to be faithful disciples; through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.