“The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven.” – Martin Luther

This weblog is concerned with learning to navigate daily faith and life – a voyage which can indeed be treacherous, as Luther notes above. Thankfully, God has given us good guides in the Scriptures and in the Church, that we may not be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14). It is to the Scriptures that we look for direction – aided by the Church’s testimony down through the centuries – about what way is the right way.

To that end, this site relies on three main compass points to ensure we’re steering our ship in the right direction:

Confessional – Believing the Lutheran Confessions to be trustworthy expositions of the Word of God, faithfully expressing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ: that we, poor miserable sinners, are justified freely by the grace of God, because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross; that his grace promises new life in this world and in the world to come because of the resurrection of Christ; and that this grace is mediated to the Church through Word and Sacrament.

Evangelical – In the contemporary sense of the word, focusing on the absolute importance of a personal living faith in Jesus Christ, and concerned with sharing that faith with others. In the historic sense of the word, as a “confessional evangelical,” a Christian connected to the deep history of the Church catholic and stressing the “Evangel” or “Gospel” of Jesus Christ as the foundation of faith and life.

Intellectual – Confessing that God has called us to think critically about both Church and Culture. Agreeing with the reformers that God works in the vocations of all people (Christian or otherwise), meaning that there are things to be learned from those outside our own tradition. Firmly defending the doctrine of the Church universal, and calling for irenic if uncompromising discussions with those with whom we disagree.

The banner which appears at the top of every page is composed of two images. The background is Ludolf Bakhuizen’s “Ships Running Aground in a Storm,” a painting made sometime during the 1690s. Bakhuizen, one of the painters of the Dutch Golden Age, was renowned for his maritime-themed work. The foreground is a portrait of Philipp Melanchthon by Hans Holbein the Younger. Holbein is widely regarded as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century. Melanchthon, of course, was a humanist scholar and theologian in the German Reformation, second only to Luther in terms of importance. He stands as a symbol of the important work lay people can accomplish when they think critically and holistically about faith and society – viewing everything through the cross of Christ.

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