Friday, December 31, 2010

Blog Highlights from 2010 and a Look to the Future

As one concludes a year it is always fun to look back and see the past twelve months in review. Often a lot happens and we forget. For me personally 2010 was a significant year filled with transitional events in my life and work. This blog reported one of them, namely my decision to enroll at Nashotah House and pursue graduate work in the Master of Sacred Theology (STM) program. I will begin 2011 back at the books, with hopes that this next year finds the completion of two more courses, leaving me with only one in 2012, along with the thesis.

Reviewing my blog articles, here are some of the highlights that stand out for me:
  • 2010 seemed to be a reorganization year for the liberals of the LCMS. The original DayStar site was down and up and then gone, finally being replaced by another newer site, which in turn was transitioned to the newest Daystar Journal. Dr. Matthew Becker, a younger theologian than the old guard coming out of the 70's, is now the perceived leader for the future. He even launched his own blog site allowing his views to be quite public, causing a bit of a stir even in our sister church overseas. A new book, called the Day Star Reader was published and distributed widely in Synod. This volume reprinted many of the old articles from the former site. The old Voices/Vision site, a promotional site which pushed ultimately for the ordination of women within the Missouri Synod, also finally ceased to exist and was followed by a newer site called The Creator's Tapestry, named after a booklet released by the CTCR this past year on the role of women in the church. It also offers a companion blog site by the same name. The initial purpose behind the sites was aimed mainly at the Synodical convention this past summer, but seems to have had a longer goal in mind from the beginning. My perspective, after following these sites now for some months, is that although there is a new face on an old cause, possibly with newer leadership as well, I fail to see where they have gained any significant traction within the Synod as a whole. The change in the top leadership of Synod, reflecting the significant changes in the political landscape of the country as well, seems to bode better for a conservative, confessional shift, if anything. Even Jesus First appeared quite dormant following the convention. Although their voice is anything but gone, and even though they seem to be using the internet far more as a tool to reach a broader constituency, and even though the leadership may be renewed, my prediction is that, for now, they will remain merely a fringe interest, with little to no overall impact.
  • The Synodical convention this summer was by far a major news event this year, bringing an unexpected upset in the office of the president. Rev. Matthew Harrison, the conservative/confessional candidate of choice, was given a decisive victory over Dr. Gerald Kieschneck, who had served for 9 years. Jesus First went all out, as usual, pushing its candidate, while trying to also demonstrate that Matthew Harrison was not the right man for the time. Even confessional/conservative folks such as me were greatly surprised, not realizing that the mood in Synod may actually be more to the right than I had suspected. Time will tell how the new administration fares with the divided landscape of our church body.
  • I posted some articles on fellowship and the Sacrament, reflecting questions in my own parish and no doubt reflecting an issue of great continued importance for the Synod. If I had to identify the most important issues still to be resolved in the LCMS, it would inevitably involve the Communion Fellowship issue. What exactly should "Close Communion" be - just a loose fellowship of like-minded Christians, or a true and committed confession that unites people into a true fellowship? My blog posts certainly demonstrate which side of the fence I find myself.
  • My classes at Nashotah allowed me a unique insight into the Anglican church, both here and throughout the world. I offered some posts examining the way this church body approaches theology and life in the church. Overall they seem to reflect conditions in other mainline church bodies, such as the ELCA, with remnants of conservatives still holding out, while the liberal contingent maintains the momentum of policy and practice. I was pleasantly surprised to discover these Anglo-Catholics this summer and was pleased by their devotion to a reverent liturgical life. I'm not ready to jump ship and become Anglican, however, and my studies at Nashotah are actually helping me to think more deeply about my Lutheran identity.
  • This past year also brought about the creation of a new church body, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), one of the results of the 2009 decision of the ELCA to officially embrace active homosexuals within their ministerium. While at Nashotah I became aware that similar events are also occurring in the broad Anglican communion. For Missouri such events have occurred, but at a more "micro" level, such as with the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (ELDoNA). As with the major mergers of past generations, our time seems to be more fracturing and realignment than consolidation. The days of the monolithic mainstream denomination are waning. A new era is upon us.
  • Finally, 2010 brought two anniversary milestones in my life: 10 years at St. Peter Lutheran Church and my 50th birthday. I am not an idealist, but rather more of a realist by nature, so reflecting on these events, while bringing a genuine feeling of thanksgiving on the one hand, also reminded me that life, by and far, is also a messy affair with many struggles along the way. Nevertheless, we grow not by drifting through an uneventful existence, but rather through trial, where our convictions are tested and our character is defined. 2010 was certainly a defining year for me personally and professionally, and for that I am grateful. I believe I am entering 2011 stronger, yet well aware that I am not impervious to the evil that constantly assails us. I look to the year ahead with great hope and anticipation, yet always a bit wary of the next great struggle awaiting me. I pray that I will remain faithful and productive, and continue to grow as a pastor, a father, and a husband.
Looking at the tally of articles over the last 4 years, this year represented again a drop in the number of entries from previous years. Part of that is undoubtedly due to a busy life, and part of it may be the shifting commitments to writing. This December has seen the strongest surge of the whole year, and I am not quite sure why. Writing is like the weather in that the need and desire to write varies from day-to-day. Nevertheless, as this month has demonstrated, I still have a need and desire to write and will continue so into 2011. I thank all who continue to read this humble little corner of the blogosphere, and pray that God will richly bless all of you in the coming year! I hope to hear from some of you in the coming months as we continue to reflect together on life in the church.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Lutherans vs. Old Lutherans

You can learn a lot by the mentors a person admires, as well as the historical figures to which one looks for guidance and inspiration. Dr. Matthew Becker, editor of the DayStar Journal and theological voice of a neo-liberal movement in the LCMS, recently wrote a remembrance post of the anniversary of the historical mentor of his doctoral studies, Johannes von Hofmann. Although Hofmann is described as a "conservative Lutheran theologian" by Becker, which is a confusing moniker these days with varying definitions of conservative. In doing a little Wikipedia search on von Hofmann, it was interesting to find his name appear in another article entitled "Neo-Lutherans." Neo-Lutheranism was a so-called "revival movement" within nineteenth century Lutherans in reactions to both theological rationalism and pietism. At this point one might well conclude that we are talking about the forefathers of the Missouri Synod, but you would be wrong. This group actually represented a movement that was in contradistinction to the theological forerunners of Missouri. These Lutherans who held to what is called in this Wikipedia article "repristination theology" (a predecessor to "confessional Lutheranism") are described as "trying to restore historical Lutheranism." While "repristination" often carries the negative image of simply restoring something for the sake of restoring it, the Lutherans of the C.F.W. Walther group should not be accused in this way. Their interest was in returning back to the roots of the Lutheran church and recapturing its convictions, not in merely recreating an historical moment in time for purely ascetic reasons.

The "Neo-Lutherans," on the other hand, held to what is called the "Erlangen School," a movement that included von Hofmann among its ranks. This group, according to the article, wanted to combine Reformation theology with "new learning." They wanted a theology that was more "dynamic" rather than "static." Now whether this article is fair to the views of this school may be open to some debate. However, if true, it illuminates well the current differences that also exist between the two competing groups within Missouri. Becker, by an examination of his own writings, betrays a true "Neo-Lutheran" theology, wishing to remain Lutheran in spirit while incorporating aspects of the "new learning" such as the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation, evolution, and the ordination of women. He would no doubt see the current confessional Lutheran movement as painfully "static," frozen in time, unwilling to truly learn and grow in a meaningful way, myopic on current struggles, and simply nostalgic for a time that can no longer be recaptured.

The "Erlangen School" of theology did not gain any significant traction in Missouri until around the time of World War II, when some theologians began to secure doctorates from Europe, especially Germany, where this theological orientation would still be quite alive. The ideas of "Neo-Lutheranism" were carried back and an valiant effort was made to have Missouri remade in its image. 1974 was the line-in-the-sand, where Missouri, awakened to the full impact of this movement's goals, finally said "no" and halted its progress. Interestingly, the ghosts of conflicts past still have a way of wandering into the bed chambers of our church, haunting us with warnings of what should have been, what could have been. Right now Dr. Becker carries the public banner of these Erlangen ghosts. How far he succeeds in getting depends again on Missouri's mood to abandon the direction she first charted in the early nineteenth century under C.F.W. Walther. So far it has not worked. This writer prays those ghosts will slip back outside once again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Slaughter of the Innocents

Evil remains ever close at hand, and even the most peaceful, solemn occasions are often broken by acts of seemingly senseless violence. Such is the case in Bethlehem as the deranged despot named Herod vents his angry paranoia on the innocent children of this little village. As the church's first martyrs they deserve our reflective attention this day, remembering especially that our Lord Jesus came into the world himself to suffer and die. Christmas is too often painted in soft gentle hues that fail to reflect the harsh colors of this world's real sin and evil that made the event of his incarnation a necessity for the salvation of the world. The Slaughter of the Innocents reveals that the heart of Christmas is that God came into our troubled, dying world, for the express purpose of saving it. The name with which he was christened, Jesus, in fact, means "Yahweh saves." It was a dangerous mission and in the end brought death even for the sent savior. Christmas points to Good Friday, a truth even the Magi may have recognized as they gave him the gift of myrrh, a spice for burial. Today we indeed grieve the terrible slaughter of these children, yet we rejoice even more in the mercy of God for them and for us, and the victory over death which Christ secured in his own resurrection.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In Honor of St. John, Evangelist and Apostle

I have the honor of being born on a saints' day, yet without the similar honor of acquiring the name. Apparently my dear mother was unaware of the important nature of this minor festival (being preoccupied with giving birth no doubt.) Nevertheless, on the occasion of my half-century mark in life, it seemed most appropriate to honor the saint whose name adorns this festival time. St. John was the only disciple of the original twelve whose day is marked by white on the altar since he is also the only one to escape martyrdom. The icon on the wall of my office notes this saint as "the theologian." Given my vocation as pastor and the additional graduate work I am pursuing in theology, it seems appropriate that I share this day with the beloved apostle and teacher of the church. I pray that I may learn from him and his devotion to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ through the exalted words of his gospel, and by God's grace grow as a theologian reaching at least a portion of the stature of this great servant of the church.

In honor of St. John, with greater honor to the "Word made flesh" of whom he witnessed!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Blessed Christmas to All!

It is hard to believe that this is now the fifth Christmas for this humble little blog. Looking back I am amazed at the journey and thankful for the interaction of the readers over the years. As I type these words onto a computer screen that will appear next to my photographed digital image, I am also reminded of the limits in this two-dimensional world in which I have long interacted, and filled with renewed wonderment in the greater mystery and miracle of the incarnation which we celebrate this day. God came into our world, taking on real flesh, close enough to touch and see. In a day when so much of what we experience is through the medium of a virtual reality, the greater reality of the enfleshment of the divine in the person of Jesus brings a unique comfort to the struggling believer. This morning, in just a couple of hours, I will kneel at the altar and receive on my hands the very body of Jesus Christ, the God made flesh. I will lift the chalice to my lips and drink the very blood of my Lord for the forgiveness of my sins. Along with my people I will stand on the threshold between heaven and earth, worshiping in the true presence of the Almighty, united with the communion of saints with whom I likewise join my praises on this holy day. Nothing digital here today. Nothing separating me from the realities of God's gifts. Direct interaction with the divine. This is what the shepherds experienced over two millenia ago. This morning I, too, will stand at the manager and worship the newborn King. What a blessing!

May all who read these words here this day be similarly blessed. My greatest wish for you on this Christmas morn is to pray that you will "taste and see that the Lord is good," worshiping in His gracious presence, hear his living word, and feast upon the Eucharistic meal in anticipation of the wedding banquet in the eschaton.

A blessed Christmas to all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

President Harrison Accepts Call as Assistant Pastor

I join with many others in applauding President Harrison's recent acceptance of a call to serve as an assistant pastor at Village Lutheran Church in Ladue, Missouri. A brief blog article containing a letter sent to the district presidents of Synod explains well his rationale and the support this actions have in our synodical constitution. Serving as a circuit counselor since 2006 has allowed me to live in a world that often serves as a bridge between the local parish and the structure of the district-level and national church body. Since I live and serve in a local setting my position allows me to put a far more personal 'face' on the Synod for people who may too often see such structures as distant and irrelevant. I hope that President Harrison's actions in this case assist in doing that for him as well.

Yet more important still, I agree with him that a need exists for the president of Synod to retain a pastoral connection with the church. He notes that this is doubly important given the recent changes in synodical structure that bring more of a CEO emphasis to his position. President Harrison came to his office as a pastor-at-heart. Commenting on his previous position in that regard he writes that "In the core of my being, I am a pastor. I view life pastorally. I view the mission of the church pastorally (Jer. 3:15). My work at LCMS World Relief and Human Care moved the church’s work of mercy to a pastoral model, closely connecting care with local altars, fonts, and pulpits worldwide."

Interestingly, Harrison is doing something which he admits has not been done in "decades." It is a new thing to go back to an old thing. This is in concert as well with his book At Home in the House of My Fathers, where he helps translate and collect many documents from the early fathers of our Synod. Sometimes the most progressive thing we can do is return to the past and rediscover long lost roots. I think that returning to the pastoral roots of our church body can only bring blessings to the Office of the President and our synod as a whole.

May the Lord bless you in this new call, President Harrison!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Close Communion and Two Sweet Old Ladies

Pastor Tim Rossow over at Steadfast Lutherans offers an encouraging and interesting post on Communion fellowship and how it is received by others ("The Communion Rail was Closed Today to Two Old Ladies"). In discussions on this issue in my parish over the last couple of years, a few had belabored the point of the offensiveness of this practice, especially to prospective communicants such as these pleasant ladies. Pastor Rossow notes that these women understood the need for the faithful practice of Close Communion and respected it without showing angry indignation, even though they had what he refers to as "LCMS bloodlines." As I have noted before, our confession counts, and formal membership in a church with a differing denominational affiliation links us with that confession, even when we may not intend it to be that way. If membership is to mean anything, we must be held accountable for it. Apparently these ladies understood that and accepted the limitations it brought. How refreshing.


It sounded impressive to put it in Latin. However, the more familiar English derivative, vocation, or more simply yet, "call," would have done just as nicely. The concept of our work on this earth as a vocatio, or "calling," was brought home to me this morning as I watched a plumber attend to my clogged bathroom sink. There, crouched on the floor, dealing with the disgusting greyish-black sludge accumulated through decades of use, this man was performing a task for which I discovered myself quite inadequate. Not that I refused to try. I made multiple trips to the Menards and Walmart attempting to find tools for what initially appeared to be a routine household chore. I twisted and pulled and pushed until the greyish-black ooze squirted strategically in unwanted directions, soiling all in its path. As I watched this man attend to my failed chore I admittedly had renewed appreciation for his work. He, like many in our society, does what we prefer to avoid, taking on a very unglamorous task for the good of all. Luther called our vocations "God's masks." Essentially the Almighty works anonymously through us to perform the work of the First Article. Many, including this plumber, probably would not think his work that of a "calling." Too often we want to see only those jobs done in and directly for the church as truly "callings." Yet that is Third Article work. God also cares about our daily needs, and utilizes the skills and talents of countless people every day to tend to these necessities. Thus, my plumber today carried out God's work. And with my hands now clean again from that greyish-black ooze, I am deeply thankful. The water once again runs freely down the drain when I brush my teeth. Perhaps that seems simple, but much of life is, and isn't is wonderful that God cares even about the little things of life?

For a more extended look at vocation, see Dr. Vieth's article "Masks of God."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Androgynous Adam and Christ?

Certain comments are to be expected from clergy and professors in the liberal mainline denominations, such as the UCC and ELCA. However, although we all know that there are those within the LCMS that teach contrary to the established teaching among us, few rostered clergy in the Synod today approach the brazen openness of Dr. Matthew Becker with regard to views clearly in opposition to accepted teaching. His writings and comments supporting the ordination of women and evolution are fairly well documented now, especially through the recently published Daystar Reader. Nevertheless, he just added to this list with what I can only call bizarre. Again, over on the Gottesdienst Online site Becker posted the following in the comment section:

What may be Christologically significant is that Adam in Gen 1 is both male and female, androgynous. There have been some in the Christian tradition who have said the same about the second Adam. As an androgynous Adam, Christ redeems both male and females. Julian of Norwich and others in the Tradition come close to this position (Christ with breasts, for example, who feeds his church).

How do I begin to discuss this? Is this really what clergy within the LCMS can now openly teach and proclaim, besides an unapologetic defense of the ordination of women and evolution? What are the limits?

Kyrie eleison!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gottesdienst Online and Matthew Becker

I thought it a bit curious that Becker's controversial musings on his blog were receiving so little notice. Or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me until a chance comment on Becker's site, there has been quite a bit of conversation going on over at the Gottesdienst blog. Although clearly in a minority, Becker is to be credited with being as open as he is with his views. With 52 separate comments to comb through, you can get a fairly good idea of the current response to Becker's recent 'coming out' efforts.

This, however, is only the second installment on the issue. The article that first responded to Becker occurred already on Thursday, the day of his post to which I responded. "SELK: Reports of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated" itself generated no less than 87 comments! I read and scanned a good deal of it. Great discussion and worth time in reading. Since the abundant material there speaks for itself, I will not even attempt to summarize or analyze.

If you want to jump in and get a feel for the debate, go over to Gottesdienst and read. You may, though, want to get a cup of coffee first. It's gonna take a few minutes.....

P.S. It would appear that the possibility exists that charges could be filed against Dr. Becker for false teaching. He was more than once admonished to do the honest thing and leave the Synod with which he so adamantly disagrees. He was called to repent. However, he sees nothing wrong with his views and convictions and certainly no reason he should leave the LCMS. As I stated in an early post I do not understand those who remain in a church body, attempting to change it, when they could just as easily leave and join another with which they are more attuned.

Monday, December 13, 2010


This was a first for our little daily newspaper (at least in my memory over the last decade.) An ad appeared on Friday entitled "Harmonious Spirit," offering the availability of a meeting room or chapel at a listed address in town. It then read, "Services performed: Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms." The ad also included the name of a man entitled with "Rev." As far as I can tell he does not represent any of the local churches or cults. The ad sports a cross, so contrary to the Eastern-sounding name "Harmonious Spirit," I am left to believe he may be Christian. I can somewhat understand the idea of hiring yourself out for weddings and funerals. People are always looking for a pastor willing to do theses "services" for the unchurched. Some calls to my church are as crass as "How much do you charge for a wedding?" Funerals are the same way. When someone dies it does not matter if they seldom if ever graced a church for worship. The important thing is that a "reverend" is there to say kind enough words so that we are all led to believe the beloved relative and friend is now comfortably situated with Jesus in heaven. Somehow, it is expected in our culture that everyone is entitled to these "Christian" services with or without real faith. I shouldn't complain too much, however. In talking with my British professor this past summer I learned that in the Church of England a priest would be expected to provide these services to any citizen of the country, as all are considered part of the church. Unlike me, they have no choice. It's their job.

Now what concerns me most of all in this ad was the provision for baptisms. Of all the "services" rendered by the "reverend," this is an act most closely associated with membership in the church and inclusion in the Body of Christ. I assume he provides infant baptisms, since these would be the most likely requests. Unfortunately he only perpetuates the existing ignorance and confusion surrounding this sacrament. As a 'rite of passage' many baptize their babies for the simple reason because that is what you are expected to do. They go in, sit through the ceremony, take lots of pictures for the babies book of memories, and have a luncheon afterward. Then they come back when the child is old enough for Sunday School. Maybe. Sometimes they may never return.

I suppose I should have expected that someone would see a potential business prospect in this area. It's probably done a lot in larger cities. Still, it cheapens even further the church's sacred acts and mission. We have toyed with worship to such a degree that some sanctuaries are little more than theaters with stages awaiting the audience's enthusiastic applause. Now we will sell our sacraments for a fee. I assume he charges a fee, but I may be mistaken. The basement "chapel" I viewed on Facebook seemed pretty low budget with minimal upkeep, and as far as I can tell he has a day job elsewhere. So perhaps he is offering these services gratis to assist those frequently disconnected people who require an inexpensive "quicky" when it comes to these formerly formal ecclesiastical acts.

I wonder what the saints of old would think of this. You know, the ones in the Early Church that took Baptism so seriously it was preceded by years of catechesis. Or even our forefathers from only a century or so ago. They would not believe it could come to this. And neither can I.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Becker Hits a Nerve

Apparently Dr. Becker hit a nerve with a recent post on the discussion of the ordination of women in the Independent Lutheran Church in Germany (SELK). If he was looking for attention on the issue, he now has it. Was that his goal? He certainly did not miss the opportunity to again chastise the LCMS for its apparent lack of willingness in beating this dead horse. Like the SELK there is division on this issue in the LCMS; of this we are painful aware. After all, the mere existence of sites such as The Creator's Tapestry and DayStar indicates that there are those who wish to keep the subject alive in our midst. On the other hand, both denominations also lack broad-based support within the rank-and-file of the congregations even after extended conversations on the topic. One might think that after ten years of discussing this in SELK without a positive result (for the pro-ordination side), we might conclude that the issue is indeed becoming the proverbial "dead horse." And this is the issue I struggle to understand. When it has been demonstrated on the official and popular level that an issue is failing to gain solid traction leading to conclusive adoption, are we wrong in concluding that it is time to move on and declare the topic closed? Or are we obligated to continue, ad infinitum (and ad nauseam) until resistance breaks down out of sheer exhaustion or indifference? Is there a reason those who desire something offered elsewhere are unwilling to go there to find it instead of always trying to change the place they currently are? It begins to feel like the person who feels that if they keep harping on a spouse to change they will get the desired result, even if that change ends up only in appearance and with resentment. Do they really believe that there is such support in the Synod that if we finally broke down and decided to ordain woman that the division in our midst would be only minimal? Look at the ELCA. They pushed the limits with homosexuality and lost a significant number of their membership - so many an entirely new church denomination was formed. Is this what the proponents of the ordination of women eventually desire?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Coursework for Epiphany Term

I will be registering this week for my next class at Nashotah for January. It is entitled "Reading Romans: Exploring Paul's Theological Vision," and will be taught by Dr. Garwood Anderson, the professor I had this past summer for the course on "The New Perspective." Excellent teacher. Since Romans represents such a foundational book for Lutherans, it seemed more than appropriate to sign up for this course. I suspect that out of this course will come my thesis topic, which may be inspired by whatever major paper I pursue. At the moment my interest is centered on exploring Romans 13, and maybe a broader exploration of the "kingdom of the left" in the New Testament, with a focus in the Pauline corpus or even incorporating material from the Gospels for the thesis. We'll see.

This summer I am excited for the possibility of a course offering which will explore "The History and Function of the Church Year." The scheduled professor is the Lutheran theologian Dr. Phillip H. Pfatteicher, who is a noted expert in liturgics. He is an emeritus professor of English from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and is the author of several books on the liturgy. Recently he retired as associate pastor of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania.

It will be nice to space out my course work this year, taking one at a time instead of having so much writing on my shoulders in the Fall just when things are warming up again in the parish after the summer break. It will also allow me a bit of a breather to take in a Higher Things gathering with my son in Illinois in the early part of July.

Hopefully, I can still finish this degree by the end of 2012. After the two courses in 2011, I will have but one left to take, plus my thesis. After that? Who knows.....a D.Min degree...Ph.D....retirement.....?

Dr. Matthew Becker Launches Blog Sites

Some time ago I bemused at the paucity of blogging done by those from more liberal theological convictions. Then The Creator's Tapestry resurrected the seemingly dormant Voices-Vision outlet, giving 'voice' once again to those pushing for more involvement of females in the ministerial leadership of Synod. The writing here has been, like my own blog as of late, rather lacking in consistent regular contributions, although after a hiatus since August a recent post has appeared dated December 2, offering a brief tribute to one of their own colleagues recently deceased.

Now, yet another from regions left of center has also appeared in the blogosphere. None other than the DayStar court theologian, Dr. Matthew L. Becker has launched his own site as well as a new replacement for the DayStar group, called "The DayStar Journal." His blog is entitled "Transverse Markings: One Theologian's Notes." You may link to his blog here. His latest article is "Women's Ordination and the LCMS Partner Churches," and is worth reading to gain an insight into the status of this issue, especially in the international churches with which we have fellowship. He takes President Harrison to task for the latter's firm stance against the Lutheran Church of Japan's possible intentions of endorsing women's ordination. It comes as no surprise that Becker praises what he views as a more open discussion on this topic outside of the LCMS, and disparages the climate in Missouri which is, from his point of view negative and attacking in its approach to dissenting views.

Dr. Becker, who now works from a safe haven in the liberal Valparasio University, represents what appears to be a new generation of those seeking to turn Missouri's ship into more 'open' waters friendly to causes of the Left. Although with a decidedly conservative administration, the reality in Missouri is that we are still a very divided church body, and DayStar exists in testimony to this. It will be interesting to follow him now that his views are readily available. Conservative readers will do well to bookmark his sites and keep a watch!

New Synodical Blog

President Harrison's office at the International Center has recently launched a new blog entitled "Witness, Mercy, Life Together: In Christ, for the Church and the World." It will feature articles by the executive staff on a variety of subjects. You can follow it here.