Category Archives: Public Discourse

The presumption of the secular to try and subdue the Church Karl F Fabrizilus  “An Epistle in Time of Confession” Gottesdienst  Michaelmas 2021  Vol 29 Nu 3 2021:3 pp 16-18The presumption of the secular to try and subdue the Church

…should rightfully not trust in the pseudo gods of medicine or ‘science’. ‘Science’ has become a god for many who think it has the ultimate answer. Rather than seeing science as the pursuit of knowledge, they want it to be the source of all absolute truth. However, the scientific method is only the pursuit of hypotheses. Many of the ‘truths’ it has uncovered have later failed to pass the test of actual data (evolution, global warming or climate change, green energy, etc) Science should follow the data, not self-proclaimed experts…To a world of fear and fear-mongers, we confess that God came in the flesh to be killed in our place and raised up on the cross in the ugliest of deaths that we might know the wrath of God has been satisfied by the atoning death of the Son of God…

…Let us remember what a god is. It is someone or something that we trust in for the good in our lives. During the last year it became clear that our life, that is our bodies and our own wellbeing, has become our greatest idol. This is nothing new, but the way so many Christians and Christian churches fell victim to this idol was stunning and tragic. Men have feared temporal death more than the reality of eternal death. Do we no longer believe that we are born in sin? (Gen 3: 17-19, Ps 14: 1-3, 51:5; Rom 3:21-25) and deserve eternal punishment (Rom 3: 2: 5-11, 6:23)? Do we no longer believe that Christ came in the flesh? His Incarnation (Jn 1:14) meant that He breathed the germ laden air around him in the filth of Judea and Galilee. He touched unclean things and was touched by people who were disease ridden … He looked upon men and had compassion… He calls us to take up the cross, that is, to suffer with Him in this age until we receive eternal life in the age to come…

We were hounded by the social distancing and mask commandments of this new god. Do this and live, we were told, but nothing could be further from the truth. These two new ‘commandments of men’ became the excuse for breaking the Third Commandment. People were told that through close contact they would kill people. Did not God say, ‘It is not good that man should be alone and How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…? Did we no longer understand the story of Elijah’s loneliness where he is renewed by being fed by God and goes in the strength of that food for forty days…? Do we no longer believe the words the Holy Spirit taught us to confess through David, ‘I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’ Are we not to encourage one another all the more as we see the Day approaching…? We are the Body of Christ… and we need one another. The devil is always attacking that Body, and he is smiling about his accomplishments during this last year. But our hope is in Christ alone and the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, … When we gather in the house of the Lord, we confess that we are dust and to dust we must return… but God has breathed life into these lumps of clay to bring us from death to life… God feeds us with the food far better than manna or the food given to Elijah. At the altar we eat and drink the flesh and blood of the crucified Son of God who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. This is the Tree of Life, the bread of heaven, by which we are strengthened throughout our journey through this wilderness of sin and death, not just for forty days or forty years. This is the medicine of immortality that is more powerful than any vaccine or medical treatment of this world, for it is strengthening our bodies for eternal life. These who have been reborn in Holy Baptism need the milk of the Word in preaching and the solid food of the Supper … Yet, many have trusted in themselves rather than the gracious gifts of God, the Sacraments of the Church given to save body and soul from eternal death. The Spirit of the Lord cries out, ‘Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful’…

…Our gathering as the Body of Christ is the ultimate confession of our faith in the Incarnate Lord. We gather before the altar and God comes to us uncovered in the preaching of His Word, the water of Baptism, and the gift of the flesh and blood of the Christ who died and rose for us. The Church should not be the place of mask wearing, but the place where in every sense we confess that this is the Body of the Risen Lord and death cannot harm us. In love, I may give people the option of doing as their conscience dictates, but I have a responsibility to call all of us to repent (yes, the non mask wearers also grow arrogant) and confess that our life is only in Christ. This results in an outward confession of faith in the Resurrection. We have already died in the waters of Baptism and been raised to life, God has killed us to make us alive. Can I be silent about such dangers?

How different this is from the masks that are designed to hide the God-given identity. It marks all men as our enemy, those who might kill us. If we are to fear we might kill each other, will we ever return to the faithful clean conscience before God without the mask? Yet, God has not ordained masks. They are a creation of man. It is even admitted by those who want them required that they do not necessarily work to prevent the virus. As such, society presents us with the mask as a false god to trust in to ‘save lives’. Masks have become an idolatrous, ‘sacramental practice’ for many, that is, an outward sign that identifies them as virtuous and carries with is the promise of being delivered from death….. Some of the best hymns about the good and gracious will of God were written in times of plague, death and uncertainty (LSB 713, 724, 743,  760) Is God no longer good? Surely, we must all repent of the weakness of our faith.

…We have slipped into the misguided idea that we must obey the government at all times, but this means we have forgotten that the governing authorities do not have authority over the church and its practices. Remember that the early church was an illegal religion that is, that they were not permitted to worship openly until the Edict of Milan in February of 313 AD. Yet  they came together to hear the Gospel preached and received the Blessed Sacrament. Many were jailed and even put to death because they would not deny the faith (Ignatius and Polycarp). They followed the example of those in the Old Testament: Isaiah who was sawn in half, the three men in the fiery furnace … and Daniel… The New Testament testifies of Stephen … and James … and we are aware of the beheading of Paul and the upside down crucifixion of Peter… At the time of the Reformation, Martin Luther was hidden from the authorities who sought to kill him. Christians defied the authorities who told them to cease and desist worshiping at the time of the Magdeburg Confession. Governing authorities have their limits in regard to Christian faith and the practices of the Church, (I will not address constitutional matters here.) Can the government order Christians to wear masks n Christian worship? Absolutely not. Notice that in some states they ordered that Communion not be celebrated. In fact, the mask issue led many to refrain from the Sacrament for months. Christians churches were far too complacent in allowing the government to make the decisions for them.

The Fifth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Commandments are closely related in this particular issue. As there is no conclusive, factual evidence that we are saving lives by using masks, we must be careful not to say we are saving lives by wearing masks or social distancing. I have personally seen the damage this time of social distancing, lockdowns, and refusal to allow hugs, kisses and even social interaction at meals has done to family members. Have more people been killed by ‘protecting’ them or by COVID?… Many were also forced to delay cancer treatments, heart surgeries and other conditions to ‘protect’ people. Evidence indicates that some of these people have died. Did we kill them? The isolation of elderly and young people has led to a surge in suicide as many doctors warned, but all we hear is COVID. Don’t our children need physical contact and in person instruction? But we, our governing authorities and teachers’ unions, have stolen that from them. The governing authorities are driven by good intentions, but not by facts. I am reminded of this quotation of C S Lewis, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’ Lockdowns have destroyed our neighbors’ businesses, ripped apart their families, left many unemployed and all of it was done, so we are told, for our good. Are we not to speak up in defense of our neighbor?…

…our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. In a world that promotes fear, let us boldly proclaim life that comes to those who have died with Christ and have been raised with Him.”

Are we going back to the bad old days of gang warfare and that’s ok for some people?

There was a top 40 song from my bubble-gum music days, 1974, that even at the time I thought was kind of hokey, kind of fanciful. The name of the groups was “Paper Lace” which sort of made it’s seriousness even more marginal. It started, “My daddy was a cop, on the east side of Chicago, back in the U.S.A. back in the bad old days” Interestingly the song was about Chicago where 104 people were shot over the past 4th of July week 2018, not 1925!!??

So ya, I knew who Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, all those people were, but they had been 40 years earlier, way outside of my experience in Boston, where ya, there was gang warfare, but no where near the scale of Chicago, and people who weren’t involved didn’t get hurt.

Law Enforcement

These are the lyrics:  This is the UTube link:

My daddy was a cop on the east side of Chicago
Back in the U.S.A. back in the bad old days
In the heat of a summer night
In the land of the dollar bill
When the town of Chicago died
And they talk about it still
When a man named Al Capone
Tried to make that town his own
And he called his gang to war
With the forces of the law
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be!
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
And the sound of the battle rang
Through the streets of the old east side
‘Til the last of the hoodlum gang
Had surrendered up or died
There was shouting in the street
And the sound of running feet
And I asked someone who said
“‘Bout a hundred cops are dead!”
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be!
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
And ther was no sound at all
But the clock upon the wall
Then the door burst open wide
And my daddy stepped inside
And he kissed my mama’s face
And he brushed her tears away
The night Chicago died
Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
The night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
The night Chicago died
Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
The night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be!
The night Chicago died
Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
The night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
Songwriters: Mitch Murray / Peter Callander
The Night Chicago Died lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
I don’t know, did Al Capone really think he could take over Chicago? I’m not even sure I know what the allusion means in the song. But doesn’t that seem to be the case today?
On the other hand the violence of these few people led to the completely unwarranted death of, if you believe the song, “…’bout a hundred cops are dead…” Certainly over the course of the 1920s and 30s hundreds of law enforcement, Chicago city cops, FBI, remember this is where Elliot Ness became famous he was an ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent. Many law enforcement were killed by the evil of those who were completely motivated by greed and power. Did law enforcement have issues today and then? Yup they do. Does that justify conducting war against law enforcement in this day and age? No, absolutely not, deal with the issues as they arise, work hard to weed out the people who shouldn’t be carrying a badge and gun. I was a Coast Guard Law enforcement officer. My brother is a State Police officer, because of my service I came to know many civilian local police and federal law enforcement. In my interactions I saw all of these people as very honest, high integrity, wanting to do a dangerous job to serve the people of this country. The vast majority of people of people in law enforcement are genuinely doing their best to serve and protect.


If someone wants to slap me down about copyright, I will take it down, I’m not trying to steal, I’m trying to create some genuine empathy and awareness that something is going on today that sure isn’t unprecedented maybe. When I first saw this post, ahhh I thought, maybe even a little creepy, but the more I thought about it and this song came to mind, why does the loved one of anyone who puts on a badge have to worry, have to cry, have to miss their wedding day because someone else just decides to take their pique out on someone else? The post I’m referring to follows:

Murdered Officer’s Fiance Takes Solo Wedding Photos

Police Officers bide


Nov 24, 2017-edited

Nikki Salgot’s photos honor the memory of her fiance, Sgt. Collin Rose, who was murdered a year before their wedding.

In the fall of 2016, Nikki Salgot was an excited bride-to-be. She and her fiancé, Wayne State University Police Sergeant Collin Rose, had just less than one year to go before their Oct. 14, 2017 wedding date.

She never expected she would be alone in her wedding photos.

While on patrol on the night of Nov. 22, 2016, Sgt. Rose, 29, checked out with a suspicious man in an area where numerous thefts from vehicles had recently taken place. When he attempted to detain the suspect, the man shot Sgt. Rose in the head, killing him.

“It’s been almost a year, and it still feels like yesterday he walked out the door for work, and never came home,” Salgot, 29, posted on her Facebook page on Oct. 14 – the day that would have been her wedding day. “I loved a hero and paid the price. Given the chance, knowing the outcome, I’d do it all over again.


Despite her grief, Salgot looked for a way to honor her fiance and their pending nuptials. “I needed that day to not be ignored and forgotten,” she told Women’s Health.

She decided to ask her former classmate, wedding photographer Rachel Smaller, if she would photograph Salgot in her wedding dress, as a memorial shoot.


“I remember being in tears on the way there, thinking, ‘How am I going to do this? How am I going to find a way to take photos that will do this justice, not just for her but for him?'” Smaller, 28, told Today.

According to Women’s Health, Salgot bought a wedding dress while Sgt. Rose was still alive, but admitted to him that it wasn’t her first choice. She said the dress she truly loved was unlike anything anyone would expect her to wear, and that it was too expensive.

“He told me, ‘If it’s what you want and what will make you happy, go get it. We’ll figure it out,’’ Salgot recounted to Women’s Health. “So, I went back and I bought the dress after Collin died.”

Salgot wore that dress to Sgt. Rose’s memorial shoot.


“She was the picture of grief and resilience and strength and vulnerability and authenticity, all at once,” Smaller told Today. “She had an ease about her….She was very empowered.”

Despite their solemn purpose, the women also found themselves enjoying the day.

“There were moments when Nikki would shift her dress around, or step on it and start laughing. I wanted to capture those moments, too, to show that she can still laugh,” Smaller explained. “I needed to tell the story of this woman who’s lost the love of her life, but is still going to have closure, and still going to be his wife one way or another.”


Inside, however, the year’s struggles still weighed heavily for Salgot throughout the shoot. “I was angry that I was standing alone in a wedding dress and utterly lost in life,” she told Women’s Health. “I had lost my rock, my other half.”

When Smaller gave her the photos from the session, however, Salgot was faced with a new realization.

“She captured images that still vividly show the pain left behind; images that show I am still able to laugh, smile and be me; images that show this loss has not and will not destroy me; and my favorite, images that show I am still just as fierce as ever and refuse to let this define me,” she said in an Oct. 16 Facebookpost.


“She managed to capture more than I could have ever hoped for; things I wasn’t entirely sure existed within me anymore,” Salgot wrote.

Salgot said Sgt. Rose continues to inspire her, and that she is still working on the education he encouraged her to obtain.

“I am learning to accept my new normal and everything that it brings to me, good and bad,” Salgot told Women’s Health.


Smaller has nothing but confidence in Salgot’s ability to persevere.

“This is a woman who is not broken. This did not break her,” Smaller told Today. “To me, she is an inspiration.”

Sgt. Rose was a five-and-one-half year veteran of the Wayne State University Police Department. He was also a K9 officer, and had previously served with the Richland Police Department. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant after his death.

He was just one credit shy of a Master’s degree in Dispute Resolution when he was killed, WZZM reported. In December, 2016, Wayne State University conferred Sgt. Rose’s degree posthumously, and Salgot accepted the diploma on his behalf.

Raymond Durham, 61, has been charged with first-degree murder, murder of a peace officer, possession of a firearm by a felon, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in relationship to Sgt. Rose’s murder.

After Officer Rose’s murder, two Detroit officers were shot by Durham before he was apprehended.”

Yea, initially I thought a little creepy, but then I felt the poignancy. Carrying the flag that was presented at his funeral, his hat. A 29 year old police officer, finishing his masters degree, getting married, every indication of someone who would be a fine police officer and man, his life ahead of him. Then shot by a  61 year old, over stealing from cars. We seem to have so much compassion for the people who commit the crimes, who have no compunction about physically harming or taking something important to another, there are people out there who would question why the police were bothering him “he’s just stealing from cars” they would say. You doubt that? I’ve heard those people say things like that. The vast majority of people today, living in a big city or anywhere, are tired of the crime, the threats to their safety and poverty. Yet we have a few people who want to make it about how someone is some how driven to crime, that we should simply forgive and move on. We’ve seen these times before, in the wild west days, in the gang days, to some extent in the 1960s. There has been a return to sanity and a marginalizing of those who would either commit the actual crimes, or those who would make excuses for those people and ignore the needs for safety and protection of the vast majority of those who want to live in peace, secure in their homes and their possessions. We will have a return to that sanity when people have heard enough excuses and refuse to accept the nonsense and platitudes of those trying to justify the violence.

No child should have to sit at home all night hearing his mother crying, gun shots going off and wondering if his parent police officer is coming home. No woman should be deprived of her wedding day, because a man decides to kill over stealing from vehicles. We need to hold our law enforcement accountable and the vast majority of those in law enforcement expect and appreciate that. But we also have to support them, help them to know that the majority of us out here appreciate all they do and we are ready to be there for them. There has to be a return to sanity, hold those who would cause this harm accountable. Stop with the phoney excuses and lame compassion, because the vast majority of people out there don’t commit crimes and want it to stop so they can go on and live safe, productive lives. I don’t think that’s too much to ask and I cannot understand how someone else can justify otherwise.

Hubris, millenials the generation of hubris

Yea, I know, might be getting a little to spun up on this subject. Maybe it’s just a function of my becoming an old fuddy-duddy. But I’ve had some interesting interactions with this generation. OK, after this I will stop picking on them, maybe.

Hubris is defined: “ˈ(h)yo͞obrəs/ noun

 excessive pride or self-confidence.
  1. synonyms: arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, hauteur, pride, self-importance, egotism, pomposity, superciliousness, superiority;

    informalbig-headedness, cockiness
    “the hubris among economists was shaken”

    I can’t wait until someone whines to the effect “…eh whaddya gotta speak Latin for”, you know because they’re scare, not afraid, they’re scared. As “educated” as that generation thinks it is, it just isn’t. If you are familiar with the concept you will understand how much trouble a person would get into because of their hubris, arrogance. It’s especially common with people who think they get it, but aren’t even close. (any kind of it).

    However there is hope. I was especially encouraged to see a recent blog by an 18 year old. The article sounded kind of whiney, how bad the church is yada-yada (note I didn’t know the background of the author). It looked more like middle- aged angst, but upon reading further: “So as the Body of Christ, let’s stop thinking of ourselves, our likes, dislikes, and preferences, and let’s make God the focus of our worship within the church. Let’s love and lead like Jesus did for us, for His glory.” ( Wow Kelsey, great job! It’s not just millenials who do it, but many who are just not intellectually stimulated; “Well I just don’t like it…” As if your likes/dislikes matter in the least.  I don’t see God sitting up in heaven getting all spun up “wow, Brittany and Hunter didn’t like that part of the Bible. Maybe I should authorize a revision there, all that nastiness in Canaan. Maybe they’re right, maybe that wasn’t “fair”, hmmm”. Ya, our little ones may not “like” it, but it’s not going to change anything, and if they received a little context, they might actually find themselves getting some intellectual depth.

    Going back to ancient Greek mythology, people got into serious trouble because of their “hubris”, this generation is well on their way to that trouble. They are a seriously undereducated/poorly educated group, that have been given little training in any kind of critical capability. (This despite the exorbitant amounts of money spent on public education). Most of their likes/dislikes come from the opinions that their poorly educated, little in terms of life experiences, public school teachers and college professors passed on to them. Even if their “educators” knew the reality, seems they often find it easier to give in, be the popular teacher instead of the one who pushes on their students.

    Problem for us is this; real adults have to deal with straight out ignorance, which also consists of pure sentimentalism. This is from the same group that thinks their adolescence should go to at least 30 years of age, while still knowing more than everyone. If that doesn’t give you an insight into the lack of logic we’re dealing with, I don’t know what will.

    This is an incredibly gullible generation that gets spun up about such things as letting males use women’s restrooms. On one issue they have grasped reality is abortion. Being the generation that was completely under legalized abortion, they are becoming much more pro-life realizing that they could have easily been a victim of abortion.

    In ministry there’s a recognition of the person who thinks that their ministry is one of criticism. They never actually do anything, but they think that it’s incumbent on them to find all the failings in the church and report them to someone to have their issues fixed and to their satisfaction. They don’t do anything except make life tough for other people who are actually trying to do something. We may have created a whole generation like that. People who can’t really provide for themselves, but know what is wrong with everyone else. The bizarre part is that we’re actually listening to them instead of being the grown-ups and telling them they need to sit down and listen. Please sit them down, they really do need to learn something!

Christians are called to serve and protect the innocent as soldiers and police

On this Veteran’s Day weekend, I would like to recognize those who have served. Military service is inherently dangerous, whether you’re carrying a weapon or not. Military service can often put people in very difficult circumstances that don’t necessarily subject them to hostile action, but can still present life-threatening circumstances. I served 29 years in the Coast Guard Reserve. The Coast Guard Reserve is different than other military reserves. It is such a small organization, about 12,000 people in the entire United States. In order to effectively train and serve, we augmented regular active duty units and were expected to maintain qualifications, including weapons, to match our active duty. In those years I did law enforcement, which never entailed my using lethal force, but there were occasions that were a little sketchy. Add in severe weather and sea conditions I had to work in and other conditions performing search and rescue, I certainly came closer to dangerous circumstances than my regular employment associates. After Sept 11 I was mobilized for about nine months, when I was demobilized, went back to my civilian employer who waited the time they were legally mandated to wait and then fired me. When I went to the Veterans Administration for some kind of protection or redress they were worse than useless. Thank you for your service. I would never say people shouldn’t serve, they should, but there are physical risks as well as professional.

There has always been an element in Christianity that has claimed that Christians cannot legitimately serve in the military or police. That is anything that might put them in a position where they might have to kill someone in the course of their duty. In today’s military that argument is becoming more and more invalid. In today’s military there are about five people for every one person in the field. That includes people who repair and maintain equipment. That’s people who provide provisions for soldiers, who provide clerical services (the ones who made sure I got paid), those who provide pastoral services, medical/dental services, training, recreational etc. One can serve in the military and probably never be in a position where they will even have a weapon, no less use one. They still perform very important functions, making it a lot easier for the people in the field to effectively perform their duties.

In Dr Gene Veith’s book God at Work Dr Veith presents Dr Martin Luther’s perspective, which Dr Luther primarily presented in his pamphlet Whether Soldiers Too Can Be Saved and was his response to those in his time tried to preclude Christians from the military or police. The following from Dr Veith gives Dr Luther’s perspective, which I think much more faithfully presents the Biblical perspective than the superficial understanding of some Christian sects:

“…Luther asked whether God is allowed to take a human life or to punish sin. Indeed, He is. Luther maintained that it is God, working through the offices of the judge or soldier, who takes life and punishes sin. [I would like to note, that to be consistent the “conscientious objector” would also not be able to serve in the legal system. This person might be put in the position of judge with the authority to condemn someone guilty of a crime. It does seem that “conscientious objectors’ are only concerned if it’s they who are put in danger – Driskell] Christians can indeed occupy these offices, being called to them as divine vocations. So a soldier is loving his neighbor when he protects his country, and a judge is loving his neighbor when he puts a criminal in prison or delivers him over to the executioner…”

“And yet this by no means negates the commands to love our enemies and to forgive those who trespass against us. In their personal lives, soldiers, judges and executioners must indeed love and forgive their enemies. But in their vocations, by virtue of their offices, they are authorized to ‘bear the sword.”

With instances of civilian police overstepping by using too much force, this is instructive. All those who bear the sword are only authorized “the force necessary to compel compliance”. These are  what we as Coast Guard officers are held to. I don’t know if civilian police are under the same limit, I have to believe they are. Once you have a suspect under control you are no longer allowed to apply physical force. If someone’s being a jerk you have to ignore it, you can’t take it personally and frankly I think there are a lot of poorly trained law enforcement that feel they shouldn’t be subject to any personal insult. As a Christian under authority you certainly have a duty to safeguard someone you’ve taken responsibility for by detaining or arresting. Anything else, you just can’t take it personally.

Having said that, Christians are certainly authorized to serve by asserting force. If they are protecting their fellow citizens against enemy aggression or criminal activity a Christian soldier or law enforcement officer is serving the innocent, that is certainly a worthy pursuit. Peter baptized the Roman Centurion (Acts 10:47) Jesus certainly didn’t call out the Roman Centurion who appealed to Jesus for his servant’s life. Paul gladly accepted the protection of the Roman cohort against the Jews in Jerusalem who were trying to kill him. God certainly blessed Joshua and David, to name a few, who were soldiers in the Old Testament.

In this day and age fewer people are credibly trying to make a case of “conscientious” objector. We could look at Augustine’s justifications for Christian military and police, but that would take a long time and I’m not up to it. Nonetheless, for those who are Christians and have served and have even been put in the situation where they had to kill someone, and did so within their authority, please know that you are forgiven. Exodus 23 says “thou shall not murder”. Killing in the line of duty is serving the innocent and a just and righteous God against the guilty, it does not violate the commandment against murder. If you had to kill, that does not mean that you are lost or cut off from God. Jesus died for all our sins and it really can’t be called what you did in duty to the innocent as sin. But if you need to cope with this by knowing that either way, Jesus died for you. This does not preclude you from Jesus, His church and all the benefits that you are entitled to in the church as a baptized, confirmed member of His church.

So we honor our veterans as a country accordingly, and we at First Saint Johns also honor our veterans as men and women who probably at some point in their military service had to function under duress, danger, discomfort, enemy fire, or just being a long way from home in a strange environment. In this day and age you’ve done more than about 90% of the rest of the population and deserve a day of honor and respect in your life. For those in the rest of society, business, government who cause veterans unnecessary hardship or refuse to serve, well Jesus does forgive all sins. I hope you can live with your conscience. For those who grieve over those who have been justly imprisoned and have to live in difficult circumstances, try “hotracking” over a torpedo tube as my brother who served on a submarine had to. I’m not saying that prisoners should be mistreated, but our military endure a lot to protect, even if they’re not being shot at.

Meyer Minute Suicide in the world, those who see no other way Nov 5

This subject is vitally important and Rev Dr Dale Meyer really hits it on the head. The rate of suicide is climbing, especially in terms of middle aged people, although it is one of the leading causes of death for those under 30. Of all the ways to die, suicide is clearly the most controllable and in Jesus it is even more so. The hope of the world is Jesus and we trust what He is doing in our life. We may not like the way our life is going, we probably think we have a better plan, but we trust that in the end Jesus’ plan is much better and it always is. Rev Dr Dale Meyer is the president of Concordia Seminary, he was the voice of Lutheran Hour Ministries.
Dale Meyer

Meyer Minute for November 5

When Charles Gliniewicz was killed on duty in northern Illinois, an extensive manhunt searched for the cop killer. Yesterday: “This investigation has concluded…that this is a carefully staged suicide. He had been stealing and laundering money from Fox Lake” (Wall Street Journal, November 5; A6). Gliniewicz concluded that suicide was his only way out.

Actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014. Recently his widow Susan said that he struggled with depression, Parkinson’s, and Lewy body dementia, an illness that leads to declining mental ability (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 4; A18). Again but for different reasons, Mr. Williams saw no way out.

“Death rates are rising for middle-aged white Americans, while declining in other wealthy countries and among other races and ethnicities. The rise appears to be driven by suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse” (New York Times, November 3; A15).

Whatever sad reasons lead someone to choose death, suicide goes directly against the God who gives life and promises hope (Psalm 42:11). “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13). So it’s a sin against God but a sin for which Jesus died. While God only knows the eternal destiny of the suicide, we who survive can know suicide is temptation to be avoided, by you, by me, and by those around us. Easily said, but overcoming the temptation when you’re in emotional or physical despair seems insurmountable. Each of us in our individual and sometimes lonely lives needs to be in a safe place where support and love are dependably present to help us overcome the temptation. Does our family, our congregation and our presence at work and in community promote a culture that cares for the weakest? Even if we do, sin is so insidious that all of us can rely on only one guarantee.

“When the righteous cry out for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).

“When all things seem against us, to drive us to despair, we know one gate is open, one ear will hear our prayer” (Lutheran Service Book, 915, 4). God, help us all.

Standards, values, morals do matter. Let’s quit living in a fantasy

This is from the NY Times op-ed page

One of America’s leading political scientists, Robert Putnam, has just come out with a book called “Our Kids” about the growing chasm between those who live in college-educated America and those who live in high-school-educated America. It’s got a definitive collection of data about this divide.

Roughly 10 percent of the children born to college grads grow up in single-parent households. Nearly 70 percent of children born to high school grads do. There are a bunch of charts that look like open scissors. In the 1960s or 1970s, college-educated and noncollege-educated families behaved roughly the same. But since then, behavior patterns have ever more sharply diverged. High-school-educated parents dine with their children less than college-educated parents, read to them less, talk to them less, take them to church less, encourage them less and spend less time engaging in developmental activity.

Interspersed with these statistics, Putnam and his research team profile some of the representative figures from each social class. The profiles from high-school-educated America are familiar but horrific.

David’s mother was basically absent. “All her boyfriends have been nuts,” he said. “I never really got to see my mom that much.” His dad dropped out of school, dated several woman with drug problems and is now in prison. David went to seven different elementary schools. He ended up under house arrest, got a girl pregnant before she left him for a drug addict.

Kayla’s mom married an abusive man but lost custody of their kids to him when they split. Her dad married a woman with a child but left her after it turned out the child was fathered by her abusive stepfather. Kayla grew up as one of five half-siblings from three relationships until her parents split again and coupled with others.

Elijah grew up in a violent neighborhood and saw a girl killed in a drive-by shooting when he was 4. He burned down a lady’s house when he was 13. He goes through periods marked by drugs, clubbing and sex but also dreams of being a preacher. “I just love beating up somebody,” he told a member of Putnam’s team, “and making they nose bleed and just hurting them and just beating them on the ground.”

The first response to these stats and to these profiles should be intense sympathy. We now have multiple generations of people caught in recurring feedback loops of economic stress and family breakdown, often leading to something approaching an anarchy of the intimate life.

But it’s increasingly clear that sympathy is not enough. It’s not only money and better policy that are missing in these circles; it’s norms. The health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues of its citizens. In many parts of America there are no minimally agreed upon standards for what it means to be a father. There are no basic codes and rules woven into daily life, which people can absorb unconsciously and follow automatically.

Reintroducing norms will require, first, a moral vocabulary. These norms weren’t destroyed because of people with bad values. They were destroyed by a plague of nonjudgmentalism, which refused to assert that one way of behaving was better than another. People got out of the habit of setting standards or understanding how they were set.

Next it will require holding people responsible. People born into the most chaotic situations can still be asked the same questions: Are you living for short-term pleasure or long-term good? Are you living for yourself or for your children? Do you have the freedom of self-control or are you in bondage to your desires?

Next it will require holding everybody responsible. America is obviously not a country in which the less educated are behaving irresponsibly and the more educated are beacons of virtue. America is a country in which privileged people suffer from their own characteristic forms of self-indulgence: the tendency to self-segregate, the comprehensive failures of leadership in government and industry. Social norms need repair up and down the scale, universally, together and all at once.

People sometimes wonder why I’ve taken this column in a spiritual and moral direction of late. It’s in part because we won’t have social repair unless we are more morally articulate, unless we have clearer definitions of how we should be behaving at all levels.

History is full of examples of moral revival, when social chaos was reversed, when behavior was tightened and norms reasserted. It happened in England in the 1830s and in the U.S. amid economic stress in the 1930s. It happens through organic communal effort, with voices from everywhere saying gently: This we praise. This we don’t.

Every parent loves his or her children. Everybody struggles. But we need ideals and standards to guide the way.