Archive for July, 2013

Something from First Thoughts.

In light of court cases regarding Scientology in the United Kingdom, I had a post a bit back asking what the word “religion” even means.  See the post here: “What is religion anyhow?”

Today was “Take Your Poet to Work Day,” so decided by Tweetspeak Poetry. What exactly is “Take Your Poet to Work Day? I’ll let Tweetspeak explain:

On Wednesday, July 17, we invite you to pick a poet to pack in your lunchbox for Take Your Poet to Work Day. You can browse our collection of ready-for-work poets. Then just cut out, color and secure your chosen poet to a stick and you’re ready to go. Impress your boss. Delight your coworkers. Amuse your fellow subway passengers. Our new Take Your Poet to Work Day infographic has everything you need to celebrate the day.

While Tweetspeak provides a number of ready-to-print poets, none of the options were really “my poet.” Sure Eliot’s great and all, but my poet is John Donne. Thankfully, John was willing to join me for the day. He even put on his best hat.

But today was no ordinary work day. No, today I was flying from Winnipeg, Manitoba to St. Louis, Missouri in preparation for meetings tomorrow. And that meant just one thing: the dear divine doctor would have to keep me company on the trip.

The day began in my office, getting ready for the afternoon flight. I told John our travel plans, but he took some convincing before coming along.


“Shall I leave all this office company,
And follow headlong, wild uncertaine thee?”

From there we got our tickets, passed through security, and waited awhile for our flight to board. John took the opportunity to reread one or two of his published works:


“For God’s sake, hold your tongue and let me read.”

The first flight passed quickly. A few hours and sonnets later (as well as a brief lay-over in St. Paul, Minnesota), we were approaching St. Louis, Missouri. As you can imagine, John was pleased we were nearly there.


“This is my flight’s last leg; here heavens appoint my pilgrimage’s last mile.”

We arrived safe and sound in St. Louis and made our way to the hotel where we’re staying.  But first we needed to stop for a haircut (for me; John politely refused), and to pick up something to eat (courtesy of Raising Cane’s Chicken). As the day ended, we settled down in the hotel room and enjoyed our supper. John wanted More but I told him he was Donne.


“What if this chicken were the world’s last bite?”

 Thus ended our great adventure on “Take Your Poet to Work Day.” And now it’s time we got some sleep.


“Enough, thou clock, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed-time.”

Good night.


After a few days offline, we’re back. Here’s the news you might have missed in recent days:

– I’ve got a post considering the work of angels over at A Christian Thing.

If you’re anything like the vast majority of Protestants (and I include myself in this condemnation), you seldom think about angels. If pressed on the matter, most of us could no doubt offer up some fluff on what these beings are. But the idea that they are constantly at work in the Christian’s life—that we are, in fact, constantly in contact with these creatures today and yesterday and all the days of our lives—this is seldom a subject of thought.

– Over at First Thoughts, I discuss the re-election of President Matthew C. Harrison (of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) and what it might mean for Lutherans’ ecumenical relations (in light of ongoing talks with Roman Catholics, the Anglican Church in North America, and the North American Lutheran Church.

If the past few years are anything to go by, this growing interest in strong relationships between the LCMS and other confessing Christian churches is likely to continue into President Harrison’s second term. I for one couldn’t be more pleased.

Update: The First Things post above has also been reprinted at the LCMS’ “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” blog:


Just a note about a post I wrote for First Things last week that discusses the difficulty facing Christians in the Middle East, in light of recent news of the murder of a Syrian monk. A grim topic, but martyrdom usually is. See it here: “Staying in the Face of Persecution: The Martyrdom of a Syrian Monk.”


My column for the May/June issue of The Canadian Lutheran was entitled “Living life in ordinary time,” and is available to read online here. In this article, I discuss Ordinary Time, that season on the Church Calendar “that comes when there are no real seasons to speak of.” It’s the time between the major festivals and holidays. In my article, I draw the comparisons between Ordinary Time in the Church and Ordinary Time in daily life. A sampling below:

cl2803-cover-webThe temptation is to think Ordinary Time in the Church is somehow less important than the big events. You see that reflected in our attendance numbers. We all know members who only seem to show up for Christmas and Easter. But in the middle of July? Not so much.

But Ordinary Time is where real life happens! After all, each of us have more unbirthdays (to borrow a phrase from Alice in Wonderland) than birthdays. So what do you do in “ordinary” life when you’re not celebrating a holiday? You go to work. You study for classes. You eat supper. Maybe you read a book or watch a television program. You play with your kids. These aren’t earth-shattering events, but they’re part and parcel of daily life. Doing these things are important to keep you in good health, both physically and mentally.

The same is true for Christian faith. We have Ordinary Time things to do. We need to go to church regularly, to feed on God’s Word and receive His Holy Supper. We need to spend time studying the Scriptures, growing deeper in the faith. We need to go about our daily work, telling others about the good news of Jesus Christ. And we need fellowship with other Christians, to encourage and pray for one another.

Read it all online here.