Around the Tower The Student Publication of Concordia Seminary
Fall Edition - Two Thousand and Eleven
Around the Tower
Contributors Many thanks go out to the writers and photographers who made the 2011 fall issue of â€œAround the Towerâ€? a reality. The release of this issue would not have been possible without the cooperation, effort, and support of the following people: Carl Deardoff, Kyle Jones, Ben Seidler, Lucas Witt, Tim Anderson, Dennis Matyas, Rev. Dan Vines, Adam Hengst, John Freis, Dale Ward, Jim Wilshushen, Joshua Palmer, Martin Dressler, Wayne Miller and Dr. David Adams.
6 Walther: The Movie
Concordia Seminary Studiosâ€™ original film Walther is completed and ready for your viewing pleasure. Find out more about the film and find out where you can see it for yourself on campus and around the St. Louis area.
4 5 14 18 23 27 28 34 38 40 50
Letter from Student Association President John Fries From the Editor Andrew Wilson St. Louis Attraction Guide Carl Deardoff Getting to know CSL Lucas Witt, Tim Anderson, Adam Hengst Getting to know a Seminarian with Wayne Miller Rise and Shine James Conrad Sermons AtT: Not Dogs, but Children Jim Wilshushen The Bro Code Carl Deardoff New Look ISO Opinion Corner Joshua Palmer, Dennis Matyas, Martin Dressler, and Dan Vines Fun and Games
Fall Edition - Two Thousand and Eleven
from the President John Fries Dear Students, It’s time to get back to the life of being a seminarian. After a year of vicarage, its back to the books and all the other things that make being here at Concordia Seminary so special. For those of you who are starting or are midway through your seminary experience, enjoy your time here while you can. It goes by so quickly. As President of the Student Association, I want to invite you to get involved in campus life this year. Oktoberfest is the first large function the Student Association puts on for everyone in the Concordia Community. German music, food, and beer (and rootbeer for those so inclined) will be provided free of charge to everyone. You are why there is a Student Association. For our single students, we want to be there to help meet your needs for your journey to ordination or placement. How might we help improve your years here at Concordia? Let your Student Association reps know. For our married seminarians, are there ways we can help you and your families get the most out of your time here? Talk to us and let us know how we can support you and your loved ones. We are your Association, we are involved in providing entertainment for you through Oktoberfest, the Green and Gold Follies, and Springfest ( and we are open to other ideas). We are involved in your Spiritual Life needs- talk to us and help us do an even better job of providing a nurturing and supportive component to your walk of faith. Matt Synnott is our spiritual life chairman, talk to him and share your ideas. We run the IM (intramural) program. Keep your body, as well as your mind, working while here at the Sem! Contact Adam Hengst to become involved. It comes with good health and a real opportunity to develop friendships. Be a good steward of the body God gave you. We also run the publication of “Around the Tower”. Andrew Wilson is the “go to” person for student publications. Are you a writer? Talk to Andrew! Are there subjects you would like to read about? Talk to Andrew! We are your Student Association, please help us to help you here at Concordia Seminary. God bless you all, make this the best year of your life. - John Fries, CSL Student Association President
From the Editor Andrew Wilson
Welcome to the new school year at Concordia Seminary and the first issue of Around the Tower for the new year. We hope that you will find the content included in these pages to be engaging and enjoyable. From stories about our campus community to opinion pieces, interviews and even a Hebrew word search, we hope there is a little something for everyone in this issue. There are indeed exciting things going on around our campus. Concordia Seminary has produced a full-length movie this year in Walther. Find out more inside. The Phase One construction project continues on campus, get a look inside the recently completed renovations in Isolation dorm inside as well. If you are a new student at CSL, we present several stories to give you inside looks at the many opportunities on campus, from immersion trips, Intramurals, or evening chapels, there are countless ways to get involved into the life of the campus. And if youâ€™re looking for life outside of campus too, we present a menu of activities and events in the Saint Louis area that you can take in without
breaking the bank. I want to thank each person who gave of their time and abilities to provide content for this issue. Their work is much appreciated. This issue would not have been possible without their efforts. As we look forward to our upcoming issues later this year we want to hear from you. What would you like to see in Around the Tower, and what did you think about what you read in this issue? Feel free to e-mail me to share those thoughts and comments at wilsona@csl. edu. I look forward to hearing from you as we work on future issues throughout the year. Godâ€™s blessings as your year begins and happy reading!
Walther: The Movie The stomp of police boots sound steadily as the oncoming noise grows louder. An onlooker finds himself in Germany in the 19th century, transported by the magic of the screen. And so begins Concordia Seminary Studiosâ€™ production of the full-length feature film, Walther. After months of shooting and editing, both on campus at Concordia Seminary, on location in Parry County and even as far away as the coast of Florida, the innovative film about the founder of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is set to premiere.
Walther: The Movie
Photos courtesy | Walther Film
Walther is the story of synodfounder C.F.W. Walther and the events of the Saxon Lutheran Immigration to America. The movie itself is shot in a docudrama format with the story acted out by a cast, but also with cutaway interviews with actual characters in the story. This provides a unique storytelling format for the film and gives the viewer a deeper historical perspective of the events on Walther’s life and work. CSL Senior Media Producer Dale Ward wrote and directed the movie, while CSL Media Specialist Shannon Wiseman served as the main video editor and chief assistant. While the film took countless hours to make, both Ward and Wiseman did all the film work in addition to their full-time slates in the ever-busy CSL media department. The release of the film coincides with the 200th birthday of the synod-father in October of this year. “The production of this film seemed so right at this time – the year of the celebration of CFW Walther’s 200th birthday,” Ward shared. “As the founder of the Seminary (and the Synod), Concordia Seminary was obviously very important to CFW Walther, who realized the importance to our church of the formation of pastors, deaconesses, and other
Cast and crew of the film go to work one afternoo
church workers. As this very institution, we wanted to honor his memory and importance in the history of the LCMS with this film. His understanding of the Lutheran doctrine is key to many of our church’s policies and administration, as well as to the fundamentals of what is taught at the Seminary.” The film’s main cast included several local and emerging acting talents, including Jordan Reinwald
Walther: The Movie
on along the banks of the river down in Parry County during shooting last spring.
in the title role as Walther. Local St. Louis actors James King, Tim Gornet, Charly Kelly, Dona Ellis and Christian Viera also added their talents to the production. The film featured the volunteer work of many extras, including a handful of CSL students and staff. Bios of the cast members are available on the official website of the film at Waltherfilm.csl.edu. “Many people helped to make this film possible, including
several of our professors, as well as professors from Concordia Theological Seminary, the Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna, the Concordia Historical Institute, even current Seminary students who worked as extras in the film, portraying characters ranging from Saxon state police officers to immigrants drowning on the ill-fated Amalia, and of course, students at the foot of Dr. CFW Walther,” Ward said. “Many others
<- Several seminarians played the roles of Walther’s lecture students in this scene, incluing Jon Meyer, Matt Mau, Jonathan Ripke, Joshua Grote, Harry Smith, Adam Douthwaite, Jon Crawford, David Graves and Andrew Wilson.
helped with generous donations of monetary gifts, props, even costumes. We could not have pulled off this film without the help of many people. A great thanks to all involved.” There are several upcoming opportunities to see the film for yourself. There will be a Grand Premiere Red Carpet Gala showing of the film at the Wehrenberg Theatre Des Peres 14 located at 1215 Des Peres Rd. in St. Louis on Monday night Oct. 1. There will also be other special Waltherrelated events in connection with the showing that night, including a live music performance from Peter Mayer who will perform music from the film. Tickets for the premiere will be available online through the theater’s website at Wehrenberg. com for $9.50. The event begins at 6:30. The film will also be shown on campus at CSL at 3:45 in the afternoon on Oct. 25 in Werner Auditorium as part of Walther’s
200th birthday celebration on campus. The film will also be shown as part of October Fest at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial on Saturday Oct. 8. The annual October Fest parade will feature members of the cast, animals from the film, and the director. Later that evening, Walther will be shown on a big screen outside under a tent. This showing is open to the public and will be the official Parry County premiere of the film. Admission for this event is just $1. For those not able to attend a premiere date, and for others throughout the
Jordan Reinwald (Walther) is seen here on location in Florida as the film crew moved south to shoot scenes of the Saxon Colony’s transatlantic journey to their new home.
Walther: The Movie
LCMS, a DVD copy of the film will be mailed to each congregation in connection with Walther’s 200th birthday recognition. “We hope the church gets excited about its history through this film, and that our viewers include future church workers and pastors who will consider the Seminary in their future,” Ward shared. Several CSL historians were interviewed in connection with the film, as well as every living president of the Lutheran Church Missouri
Synod. Current LCMS President Matthew Harrison recognized the significance of the work of Walther in his remarks. “What is incredible is that out of all those, probably 60 different Lutheran synods formed at the time, Walther put this Missouri Synod together with other significant people,” Harrison shared. “(The LCMS) is put together in 1847 and still to this day in 2011 the Missouri Synod still confesses the entire book of Concord. We are virtually, aside from the Wisconsin
Synod and a Norwegian synod and a few other very small bodies, we are the only Lutherans in America who still confess the absolute authority of Holy Scripture. And all of that for the sake of the blessed, clear, wonderful Gospel of free forgiveness. Grace alone.
Faith Alone. Christ Alone. That is an unbelievable accomplishment.â€? Excerpts from the interviews with the Presidents, an official film trailer, and much more can be found online at the official movie website: Waltherfilm.csl.edu.
Walther: The Movie
<- Clockwise from left to right; The ship in Florida that was shot on to portray the immigrantsâ€™ arrival after their journey across the Atlantic; Jordan Reinwald (Walther) and Christian Viera (Waltherâ€™s brother) work out a scene; St. Louis actor Tim Gornet plays the role as the coniving Bishop Martin Stephan; ; and the Official Walther film poster. You can purchase your own copy of the official poster in the CSL Bookstore for just $5.
St. Louis Attractions by Carl Deardoff
St. Louis Attractions Despite popular belief, there is much more than the Arch here. St. Louis offers many free, and definitely fun, opportunities for you to explore. From the largest brewery in the world, to an array of free family activities – this city can be your gateway to fun and memories.
After hours of diligent studying, be sure to treat yourself, and your family and friends, to an adventure. Do you have visitors coming? Don’t be afraid to take advantage of all the free things! Use this simple guide to take your first steps off-campus and into the city. Did I mention FREE?
The Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour gives you the history of the largest brewing family in the world, along with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process. Most tours include a look into the stables, and a chance to pet a Clydesdale. After the tour, Bud gives you complimentary samples of their finest selections. In other words - free beer! FREE (After the tour, go across the street to Gus’ Pretzels for the best pretzels in the city.) Ok, ok Grant’s Farm may NOT be FREE, but it is very cheap. At $11 per vehicle, it’s definitely worth the trip. Grant’s Farm is more than a tour of the historical home of Ulyesses S. Grant and the Busch family. There are over 900 animals on the Farm! From Clydesdales to Elephants to little goats that will eat your shorts if you are not careful (seriously, I’ve witnessed this), the Farm is family fun gold. FREE ADMISSION - $11 per car.
Where else can you torture your family and friends with such thrilling facts that the name Hippopotamus is derived from two greek words meaning, ‘river’ and ‘horse’? I have visited the St. Louis ZOO at least a dozen times and have yet to explore everything. My personal favorites are the hippos, elephants, gorillas, snakes, giraffes, tigers, ducks, tortoises, sea otters, penguins...I think you get the point. Actually, the price is my favorite thing. FREE ADMISSION -Parking costs (but you can park anywhere in Forest Park and walk in for FREE.)
St. Louis Attractions
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of FREE things to do in Forest Park. The entire park houses the zoo, free museums, an outdoor theater, excellent running and biking trails, and quite spots to kick back and relax (or read 150 pages of Pieper). My personal favorites include; the FREE Art Museum (check out Chagall’s work), the FREE Missouri History Museum (which houses a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis), the FREE Children’s Science Museum, and the grand basin (pictured right). Enjoy your day at the park! FREE Once again, I apologize, the City Museum is NOT FREE, but it is amazing. Best described as a playground for adults, the museum admits all ages and will boost your creative membrane. Take your friends, family, or visiting guests to experience a world they will soon not forget. Best enjoyed with a group of friends and family. PRICES VARY http://citymuseum.org/site/
Honorable Mentions e. FREE Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
f. FREE only Saturday Morn.
FREE FREE Missouri Botanical Saxon Settlement, Laumeier Sculpture Garden Parry County, MO Park
Union Station Soulard Farmer’s Market The Magic House Museum of Transportation Laclede’s Landing
Cahokia Mounds Jewel Box Butterfly House World Bird Sanctuary Daniel Boone Home
Carl and Shannon Deardoff visiting the original Concordia Seminary log cabin in Perry County, Mo.
Three students share why these extra-curr
By Timothy Anderson
It’s Orientation week here at Concordia Seminary and between the first-year students running from session to session and different student workers setting up events, lunches, and doing other things that need to be done, a truth begins to emerge… Orientation is a busy week. Not that this is different from the rest of our Seminary lives, or life in general. There is always something to do. Life is busy, and there never seems to be enough time. So why then am I using the little bit of free time that I have to sit in the chapel three nights a week? The answer is for Night Chapel. Because as I sit there I realize that regardless of the busyness of my life, God is calling me to cast my burdens onto him, and find true peace and true rest in life. Attending Night chapel allows me the opportunity to rest in the Lord as I prepare to physically rest for the evening. As I sit in the chapel, I begin to be surrounded by members of my seminary family. All of us with one voice come together one last time during our day to say thanks to God, and to hear the words our Lord speaks to us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Rest for your Souls, in essence this is the point for which we gather three nights a week in the chapel, to be reminded of the peace that passes all understanding and to be given rest for our soul in our busy world. Continued on page 20
Getting to know CSL
o know CSL
ricular opportunities shouldn’t be missed.
2Immersion Trips By Lucas Witt
“Here is Little Saigon, see you in an hour.” This is basically what we were told ten minutes after being picked up from the Orange County Airport in February. Talk about immersion. This was in California, but we were obvious foreigners in a place that looked, smelled, and felt like Vietnam. Continued on page 33
3Intramurals By Adam Hengst
It is that time of year again, the time when we flip the calendar over to September and prepare to embark on another year of academic study. But it is also the time of year when the opportunity for community and competition come together in the form of Intramurals. Intramurals are a long-standing tradition here at Concordia Seminary and this year will be as good as any we have ever had. Continued on page 21
Evening Chapels | continued from page 18 For those who are new or haven’t attended night chapel much in the past, this is what members of your seminary community are doing to offer up praise to Christ Jesus during the week and find rest for our souls in him. We gather in the presence of God. On Monday nights at 10pm, we use the setting of Holden Evening Prayer. Holden is a “contemporary” adaptation of the evening prayer service found in the LSB. It offers a nice liturgical change of pace for Seminary students who might otherwise only get to worship with traditional settings. I know that is what originally attracted me to Night Chapel was that chance to get a different worship style once a week. During the rest of the week we worship using settings found in our hymnal. On Tuesday Nights at 10pm, we use the traditional setting of Evening Prayer. It offers us the opportunity to thank Christ Jesus for being the true light in our lives and includes Hymns, scripture Readings, Mary’s Magnificat, and prayers for our community. Again it leads us to seek the one who
can provide Rest for our Souls. Thursday Nights at 10pm we worship using either the setting of Compline or Vespers. This past Thursday I had the opportunity to lead Night Chapel. As I was leading, we got to the hymn for the evening, Now Rest Between Night’s Shadow. The final verse goes like this, My loved ones Rest Securely For God this Night Will Surely From peril guard your heads Sweet slumbers may he send you And Bid his host attend you And through the night watch o’er your beds. As I was meditating on this verse I realized that this should be my prayer for all students and their families at the Seminary, but I also pray that you would consider making night chapel a part of your Seminary life. It can be a blessing to you and help keep your focus on the one who has brought you to this place. I pray God would grant you sweet slumbers and grant you to rest securely in Him, from now until life everlasting. - Tim Anderson is a secondyear seminarian from New York.
Getting to know CSL
Intramurals | continued from page 19 The goal of Intramurals is to promote community, healthy lifestyles, and good sportsmanship, while at the same time enjoying competition. Intramurals promote community by giving all students and their families an opportunity to come out and participate in a campus wide event every single week. Besides classes, intramurals are the most attended activity on campus for students. From personal experience I can say that some of my best memories from the Seminary have been at IM’s and all of my relationships have been deepened through IM’s as well. It is a fantastic way to be involved in the Seminary community. The team you are drafted on to is the team that you will compete with throughout the year in all sports, so it’s natural that teams become a close-knit group. Intramurals also promote healthy lifestyles by giving everyone an opportunity to exercise while having some fun as well. But not only does it help with physical health, it also promotes mental health by giving students a break from the rigors
of the classroom and giving them a chance to clear their heads. Finally Intramurals promote good sportsmanship. Though the competition is great and people can get excited from time to time, IM’s gives opportunity for students to show sportsmanship, by how we deal with one another and with those around you. This year the major sports that we will be playing are football, ultimate frisbee, basketball, volleyball, and softball. We usually offer two of these each quarter. If these particular events do not get you excited about IM’s we will also have events such as a chess tournament, a poker tournament, dodgeball, tennis, golf, and many more. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of what you may feel your skill level is. If you would like to sign up for IM’s there is a sign up sheet in Loeber II on the Intramural Board.
- Adam Hengst is a fourthyear seminarian and the CSL Intramural Chairman this year.
Getting to know Wayne Miller 1st-Year Seminarian
Photo | Kyle Jones
Getting to Know a Seminarian
w a Seminarian Around the Tower sat down with first-year CSL student Wayne Miller to discuss his longtime desire to attend seminary, his experience with Summer Greek, and what he misses most about his hometown of Chicago. AtT: What led you to desire to attend seminary? Miller: “I have always been one of those guys who wanted to be a Pastor, even since I was in kindergarten. I never had a miraculous vision or a big voice come down from the clouds … that never happened, but I’ve always just had that in my heart I believe and for years and years it stuck with me, even though that wasn’t always my intended vocation throughout my undergrad as I studied hospitality and tourism and graduated in 2009 from Roosevelt University. I worked in that industry for a couple years, but that feeling (to attend seminary) was not leaving me and through that the Holy Spirit brought me to Concordia Seminary.” “… The economy and the trouble finding a job in the hotel industry was one of God’s ways to bring me to Concordia finally … the rotten economy may have been the best thing to ever happen to me.” AtT: You recently completed summer Greek here at the Seminary. How was that experience for you? Miller: “Greek was amazing. Let me tell you something about Greek; the relationships that I built, and that all of us built, our whole class together, that was the best part. Those guys in Greek will always stay with me, I’ll never forget them, and after 10 weeks of study I feel like I’ve known them my entire life. We’re all brothers and we’re definitely going to remain brothers for the rest of seminary and the rest of our lives. We had an excellent professor in Dr. Oschwald and our class was very enthusiastic in learning this odd language. I learned a lot, more than I thought I would. I would recommend it to anybody to take summer Greek if you are coming in as a new student.”
AtT: You really are brothers because you’re together everyday working on something that really is quite challenging. Miller: “We all helped each other and we couldn’t have gotten through it on our own. We all have our brains, our professors, our fellow colleagues and God to get us through that.” AtT: What was the personality of your class? Miller: “I would say the personality was very diverse. Everybody brought something different to the classroom and everybody had a different personality and yet everybody got along. We all worked together, it was really like everybody had a different puzzle piece, but all the puzzle pieces fit together.” AtT: Throughout your life of service to God, both in the future as a Pastor and even now as a seminarian, what aspects of ministry are you looking forward to? Miller: “I’m looking forward to my studies in theology, which is something in my schooling before that I never had the opportunity to do. I’m looking forward to learning of course, that’s what we’re here for, but I’m
Getting to Know a Seminarian
“We all worke together, it was really lik everybody ha different puzz piece, but all t puzzle pieces together.”
ke ad a zle the fit
also looking forward to embracing the community (that I will be in) with the knowledge that Concordia Seminary will give me.” “If we’re sensitive to our surroundings and our friends around us who live in this area, they’ll trust us and if they trust us we are able to share our faith with them, our faith in Jesus Christ, and there is no greater gift. That’s what I’m looking forward to… and the rest of my life.” AtT: Earlier this Wayne Miller arrived on campus earlier this summer in order to take the Intensive Greek Summer Course. summer your kindergarten Most of my life has been defined by teacher visited you the church and activity within the on campus. That is unique to be church, so it’s nice that people who close to a teacher from so long come to visit me are people within ago. my life and part of the church. It’s Miller: “Yes it is. Ruth Seivers was very encouraging to have your own my kindergarten teacher 20-some kindergarten teacher from when I years ago and I still keep in touch was 5 years old and now that I’m with her. I went to Lutheran school 25 years old still caring about you and she has a long history of and giving you advice over all these teaching in the Lutheran schools. … years. I’m very proud of that.”
AtT: Was she surprised that you were going to attend seminary?
decent singer and I enjoy singing and I love singing in the choir.”
Miller: “No, no one was surprised and that very encouraging. No one was shocked at the news, they all said, ‘yeah, I can see that.’ That was very comforting from all of their reactions.”
“Oh… And I love traveling! Hello! I’ve been all over the U.S. and I’ve been to Paris and London. That’s my favorite thing to do actually is travel. I love seeing the world and I haven’t seen enough of it. That’s what I’m going to do, that’s my goal when I’m retired. If I could do anything tomorrow and you asked me what I was going to do I would go to another country.”
AtT: If someone didn’t know Wayne Miller and you wanted to introduce yourself through three facts, what would you share with them?
“I’m a very dedicated Chicagoan when it comes to the Chicago Cubs and Chicago food... Which we don’t get in St. Louis!”
Miller: “Well for one I’m a very dedicated Chicagoan when it comes to the Chicago Cubs and Chicago food. Which we don’t get in St. Louis!” AtT: So you miss Chicago food when you’re in St. Louis? What do you miss most? Miller: “I miss my pizza, polish sausage, I miss beef sandwiches. It’s the same down here, especially of course.”
I miss my my Italian just not but pizza
“Another thing about me is that I joined the choir here on campus. I’m not very musical, but I’m a
AtT: Anything else you would like to share with your fellow students? Miller: “Being here since the beginning of the summer, I would recommend to any student, because there is a lot of work and a lot of stress and a lot of distractions, my advice to any new students that arrive on campus would be to go to chapel. I’ve found that with chapel you’re going there because that’s where the gifts are, you’re receiving God’s Word, Sacraments. Try to get to chapel everyday … it’s great spiritual welfare. God doesn’t need us there, but we definitely need him.”
Getting to Know a Seminarian
Rise and Shine A poem
Where does this silly fear hail from? An innate fear of lying alone From our youth until full grown Every night we wait to die And in the morning we hate to rise Die and rise, rise and die In the deep water of every night's tides There in the depths, Leviathan lies Who will usher me to the other side? Lie with me and I with you Together we shall suffer this tomb As we wait for the Groom He is the one who has already died Died and rose, rise and shine So that we might no longer die Only rise and shine, rise and shine - James Conrad
Not Dogs, Bu By James Wilshusen | 2nd Year M-DIV from Cole Camp, MO Matt. 15:21-28 | Pentecost 9 Goal: That the hearers more fully believe that they are not dogs under the table, but children of God, seated at the table. INI When I was a small boy, I loved to visit my Grandma Wilshusen with my two older brothers, Danny and David. At snack-time, she would make us sandwiches that we would take outside to eat. We had to hold the sandwiches way up over our heads. Homemade grape jelly would drip off the slices of homemade bread, running down our arms or dripping onto our heads. All this so her dog, Rex, would not take a bite or worse yet, get the whole sandwich. He would be running around our feet, from one boy to the next. Bouncing off of us and jumping up on us. Grandma would half heartedly scold him to leave us alone. Half heartedly because she was laughing at us. Rex, however, knew that if he waited long enough and begged enough, one of us, or maybe even all 3 of us, would share the last of our sandwich with him. Cookies were another story, but the sandwich we would share. He would reward us by “washing” us off, licking our faces and arms. Now, as you picture that scene, I’m sure you picture yourself as one of the boys holding the sandwich, not old Rex, the dog. But in today’s Gospel reading, we find someone who sees herself as the dog. The Canaanite woman has evidently heard of Jesus, even though she is a child of the long time enemies of God’s chosen children of the OT. She seems to understand who he is. By her confession, he is the “Lord, the Son of David.” He is the one to whom she cries out, “Have mercy on me!” He is her only hope in a situation where all hope seems lost. But does she have any right to make such requests of Jesus? After all she is an outsider, a foreigner, a dog, in the eyes of God’s chosen children. In the eyes of a 1st Century Jew, very little was lower than a
Sermons Around the Tower
ut Children dog. Dogs lived in the alleys and got to eat only the garbage and scraps that were thrown out. Yet she... and not those who should, understands who Jesus really is. She acts much more like a child of God than a dog. Yet for all her crying out and pleading, Jesus acts like he doesn’t even hear her. He just keeps right on walking. That’s tough, isn’t it? He seems to treat her like a dog. Now, let’s push the pause button for a moment so I can ask a question of us. When in our hour of need, we cry out to God, “Lord, have mercy on me!” What if the answer doesn’t come right away? What if the answer comes and it’s not the one we want? Does it feel like Jesus doesn’t hear us, like he’s just walking on by? Could be. We begin to think, “Maybe God doesn’t care. Maybe he’s just too busy. Maybe I’m no more than a dog, after all.” The doubts just continue to grow and grow. The world is right there telling us, “God doesn’t even exist. Or, if he does exist, he’s just some being out there, who watches the mess you’re in and doesn’t care.” Satan tells us, “You’re no child of God. Look at all the sins you’ve committed. Would a child of God act like that? You’re nothing but a dog.” Now press the play button once again. The Canaanite woman of our text should have given up. She should have gone home, with the realization that she was not a child of God, only an outcast, a dog. But she didn’t. Somehow she knows who Jesus is. She knows that her only hope is in him. She keeps crying out to him. She reverently kneeled before him even though he had just said “I was sent only to the lost sheep, the house of Israel.” She cried out, “Lord, help me!” She keeps getting answers she doesn’t like. She keeps persisting. What about you? When the answers don’t come right away. When
Yet she ... understands who Jesus really is. She acts much more like a child of God than a dog.
the doubts creep in. When Satan accuses you. Do you in faith keep persisting, trusting in Jesus, who he is and what he has done for you? Or do you tuck your tail between your legs and run for the porch? Do you continue to trust that your Father in heaven knows what you need and willingly gives it to you, his child? Or do you quit praying, quit trusting, quit believing? In the exchange between the woman and Jesus, we see what it looks like to be God’s child. Jesus told her “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” The woman’s answer showed her faith. It showed whom she trusted in, from whom her hope and comfort comes. She agrees with Jesus. “Yes Lord. You’re absolutely right. You have been sent to the lost sheep, the house of Israel. I know that I am an outcast, a foreigner, a dog. But when you feed your children, the scraps that hit the floor belong to the dogs. That’s all I want. That’s all I need. That will be more than enough.” Her faith is in Jesus, the Son of David, the Messiah. She trusts that he will hear her pleas for help and answer. When Jesus saw her display of faith he declared “Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” He wasn’t throwing the children’s bread to the dogs. He wasn’t even giving the dogs the scraps from the table. He was seating her at the table as a child of God and feeding her. The faith of the woman is only great faith because of who she trusts in. She trusted in Jesus, the Son of David, the long awaited Savior. That’s what made her faith truly great. She trusts in the only true source of hope and comfort, Jesus the Christ, the Son of David. He is also the one we trust in. Our faith is great when our faith holds on to Jesus. And he doesn’t let us down. No, just the opposite. He does for us what he did for the woman. He seats us at the table as his children and feeds us. He does this by being treated like a dog for us.
He wasn’t throwing the children’s bread to the dogs. He wasn’t even giving the dogs the scraps from the table. He was seating her at the table as a child of God and feeding her.
Sermons Around the Tower
At the Garden of Gethsemane he cried out to his Father, “If it be your will, remove this cup from me. But not my will, but yours be done.” We don’t know if the Father directly answered Jesus that night. But we do know that his will was done. The same Jewish leaders who should have seen Jesus, for who he truly is, the Lord, the Son of David, seized him. They beat him. They spit on him. They treated him like a dog. Then they handed him over to the civil authorities. Again he was beaten, this time more severely. He was mocked and mistreated. Then, because it was politically expedient, he was crucified. He was treated like some unwanted dog to be gotten rid of. From the Cross he cried out to his Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” It seemed God, the Father, was only watching this tragedy unfold. Jesus died there on that cross. The weight of the world’s sins on his shoulders. The weight of our sins on his shoulders. The perfect Son of God, sacrificed for us, the outcasts, the real dogs. His followers placed his lifeless body in a tomb, certain that all hope was lost. Certain that they would be hunted down like dogs, they hid and waited in fear. They hid behind locked doors, certain all hope was gone. They didn’t understand who Jesus is or what his true mission was. On the first Easter morning, however, they found the tomb empty. Jesus had been raised back to life! Jesus had defeated death! He has silenced the voices of the world and Satan. He gives us new life as his children! We need no longer to cower in fear as Jesus’ followers did on that first Good Friday. We are not dogs! We are his children! So, now, when the hard times come and we pray to God. When we cry out, “Lord, have mercy! Help me!” We can be confident that the answers will come because we are his baptized children. At our baptism the pastor took us and poured water over us and said “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” God placed his name on us, adopted us as his children, and gave us a seat at his table. When Satan comes and accuses us. When he tries to tell us that we have sinned too much and no longer have a place at the table. We can trust Jesus when he says through the pastor, “In the stead and by the command of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all of your sins.” We are his children with a seat at his table.
When our faith is in need of nourishment, we can come to the Altar. We can, in communion with the other children of God gathered here, approach his table. He has prepared a heavenly meal of his own body and blood “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” We can eat and drink and be fed because we are his children gathered at his table. We can go out into this sin-infested world we live in with confidence because of whom our faith is in. Because we are his children. Growing up, I saw what faith that clings to the resurrection of Jesus the Christ looks like. Remember I mentioned at the start that I have 2 older brothers? My oldest brother, Danny, was killed in a farm accident just 1 month before his 6th birthday. I watched as my parents clung to the resurrection of Christ as their only source of comfort and hope. My mom, only recently, shared with me the comfort she received from Pastor Notwehr at the funeral. In his message that day he spoke of how Jesus receives and welcomes little children. The thought of Danny being warmly welcomed by the resurrected Jesus became for her a source of hope and comfort. Mom and Dad knew, because they had brought Danny as an infant to the waters of Holy Baptism, he was a child of God. Jesus, at his resurrection, defeated death. The next time my family will see Danny will be on the Last Day when the dead are raised back to life. We will be seated at God’s table, as his children, together for eternity. You and I are able to stand confident because our faith is in the risen Jesus, the Son of David, the Messiah. We face whatever the world and Satan throw at us. We are, after all, God’s children and we have a seat at his table. Amen. SDG
If you would like to submit a sermon of your own to be shared with the Seminary community in an upcoming issue of Around the Tower, please contact the Editor at email@example.com.
Sermons Around the Tower
Immersion Trips | continued from page 19 In the past year I have been blessed to participate in three seminary-sponsored immersion trips over quarter breaks: Guatemala last Fall, Orange County last winter, and New York last spring. All were unique experiences; all I highly recommend. On one trip I spent time wearing a clerical in public, on another I was lying low and under “house arrest.” Yet no matter the events, at the end of each day I could never immediately drown out my thoughts with an upcoming paper, reading assignment, or evening prayer service as I can here on campus. Instead, discussions with my accompanying friends highlighted reasons we never will forget our immersion trips. Discovering situations I didn’t know existed. In Guatemala, I overlooked the Guatemala City Landfill where hundreds of people were scrounging for their means of daily living. Standing next to me was Ruth, a native Guatemalan who had been in that situation earlier in her life. I thought to myself, “here are some people who are likely satisfied by crumbs that fall from the master’s table”. I have played soccer with kids who don’t own shoes and strolled down Skid Row in Los Angeles. When spending the day learning from people who have lived and survived situations I had not realized existed and how some relied on their faith to get through it, suddenly arguing why Divine Service I is essential for faith doesn’t seem so relevant. Continued on page 52
The BroCode Over the summer, I spent hundreds of hours compiling exactly 1,276 rules for The BroCode at Concordia Seminary. Suit up, because it’s going to be LEGEN…wait for it…DARY. Now for obvious space restrictions I can only highlight a few. I challenge you to read The BroCode and hold yourself (and your fellow bros) to the high standard of the BC. There are only two words I want to hear out of your mouth - Challenge Accepted.
1) Bros before h…I mean books. (Also, known as “Bros before Prose” clause.) This may come as a shocker to most sem students, but we are given an excruciatingly painful amount of work to accomplish in a ten week period. We all know the cliché, “It’s like drinking water out of a fire hydrant.” Given the circumstances, it’s easy to lose sight of your fellow bros since you spend most of your time staring into Luther’s commentary on
Romans (and other misc. gems). But, it’s ok to put down the book, or stop watching 12 hours of tv a day (we know who you are), and spend time building relationships with your future colleagues. As we say in the office – take care of your business, and take care of your bros. I challenge you to go out of your way and meet someone new this week. Who knows? He could be a future neighbor in your circuit – or in special circumstances - brother-in-law. (It’s a small Lutheran world after all.)
919) For no reason should a bro begin a stupid theological argument on another bro’s Facebook wall. No one cares about (insert a very intricate theological argument), or that you think “Our Hippy Savior Funky Lutheran Church” is full of crazy liberals on board a groovy ship bound for the gates of hell. Seriously, save it for the blog-o-sphere. The purpose of Facebook, or other social networking sites, is to have fun reconnecting with friends and family that are way out of your daily reach. Under no circumstance should you stalk a random persons wall (who you don’t know) and rant about them attending an “uber-liberal” Lutheran Church (that you have not visited or even know their doctrine), setting off a chain reaction of hate and malice. This article is punishable by death. (See Romans 6:23a.)
I challenge you to stop using Facebook as your own personal soapbox – save it for someone who cares. Or, stop being lazy and get published. Challenge Accepted 63) A bro does not bludgeon another bro to death during intramural sports. I know it might seem tempting to pick up an orange end-zone marker and shove it down an obnoxious person’s throat, but thou shalt abstain from such activities. All week we study together, live together, worship together, and pray together in loving kindness and peace. Yet, for some reason, when people step on the field/court it is do or die. I can’t tell you how many bloodied carcasses I have seen drug off the intramural field (which if you look closely, the dirt has mysteriously changed to a red color). To give testimony to this fact, before you can play, you have to sign a waiver saying that you (or your loved ones) won’t sue the seminary for wrongful death. It is good to play competitively and want to win. But, let us do so with good sportsmanship. I challenge you to practice sportsmanship, and actively look for an opportunity to praise your teammates and members of the other team. Challenge Accepted
322) A bro will comfort another bro with words of hope and encouragement during vicarage placement and call day season. Although it might seem funny at the time, is it really appropriate to taunt another bro about his impending doom…I mean, vicarage assignment or call? Asking another bro if he has enough coats to survive a winter in North Dakota, or if he has corn allergies, does not help the situation. He is nervous enough! But instead, lift him up with warm dreams of Florida, California, or any tropical paradise (actually, that also might be counter-productive). Maybe we should just keep our mouths shut and pray.
77) Bros forgive one another If you have made it this far, I would like to personally congratulate you. Studies have shown that 75 percent of readers drop out after the first paragraph. Congratulations – you are part of the faithful few! Now, this may be the point in the article where Lutheran bros may look back on the code and realize that it is pure law. That is why it is absolutely vital that this clause should be inserted after every article. We should forgive, just as Jesus Christ has forgiven us. Your fellow bros will fail, some will even epically fail. God understands when we make mistakes, why should we not also? Remember, forgiveness is next to awesomeness.
I challenge you to pray alongside your fellow bros that God will place you where he needs you, and if needed – speak words of comfort and encouragement.
I challenge you to forgive one another, just as Christ God forgave you. Challenge Accepted
Challenge Accepted 933) A bro will remind another bro that chapel services occur on a daily basis, lest he forget. Challenge Accepted 510) Bros meet at bi-monthly engagements called Prof & Stein. Are we not called to beer one another’s burdens? Challenge Accepted
BroCode as interpreted by Carl Deardoff
5) Whether he cares about sports or not, a bro cares about sports. 14) Bros treat staff members with love and respect. Just because they don’t have the “Dr.” initials in front of their name does not mean they are worthless. 179) A bro will always support another bro’s long distance relationship, except when the first bro is spending three or more hours every night on Skype, the phone, or any other form of communication. If said violation occurs, the second bro should expect to endure light-hearted, public criticism from any surrounding bro. 753) If, for the life of him, a bro can’t remember another bro’s name, it’s perfectly acceptable practice to address him as ‘hey’, ‘man’, ‘dude’, or any other variation until the ‘guy’ goes on vicarage, takes a call, or somehow drops off the face of the planet. (Which happens from time to time.) 15) A bro never dances with his hands above his head. 11) A bro may ask another bro to help him move. But, only after first disclosing an honest estimate of time commitment, and number of large furniture pieces. If the bro has vastly underestimated, his bros retain the right to leave his possessions where they are, in most cases stuck in a door-way. Not mandatory, but socially accepted practices include rewarding helpers with beer and pizza. 70) A bro will drive another bro to the airport or pick him up, but never both for the same trip. He is not expected, but probably should be on time, help with luggage, or inquire about his bro’s trip or general well-being. 103) A Bro never wears socks with sandals. He commits to one cohesive footgear plan and sticks with it. 149) A Bro pretends to understand and enjoy various beer, cigars, and wine selections.
New-look ISO receives rave reviews A dormitory from the 1920s got a facelift this summer and it hasn’t taken long for grateful residents to take notice. The dormitory was completely cleared out following the end of the school year in the spring, in order for crews to remove all the furniture, tear up the carpet and remove asbestos from the flooring. When the four-floor dorm had been completely stripped, new carpet was laid, the walls were painted and even new trim was installed, giving the old building’s interior a fresh, younger look. An industrial strength flooring has also been installed in the hallways, allowing for easier cleaning. Students moving in this fall have been quick to notice the transformation. “I especially like the renovations in the lounge area,” returning ISO-resident Ben Seidler shared. “Instead of just one we now have two nice round tables and we have a big long table as well. I really appreciate that aspect of the changes.” Even students new to ISO living
have expressed their approval of their new accomadations. The lounge of ISO has also added a new flat screen television, complements of the generous gifts of the Seminary Guild. New flat screens have also been installed at the various lounges in F and G dorms as part of the same gift. There has been a lot of work taking place outside of Isolation as well, with construction taking shape on the planned courtyard area between the dorm and the renovated cafeteria in Wartburg. Bricks have been laid, creating an inviting patio area where picnic tables can be used, as well as two grills have been planted just in front of the dorm replacing the small, portable one that was used by residents in years before. For more information on the renovations to Isolation or any of the other construction projects ongoing on campus, visit the Phase One website at PhaseOne. csl.edu.
... new carpet was laid, the walls were painted and even new trim was installed, giving the old building’s interior a fresh, younger look.
Photos | Ben Seidler
Surefire Church Growth Can you imagine our synod without the worship wars? Perhaps that is impossible. But imagine for a moment that the debate over contemporary worship was a little less frantic, without the constant worry that if we choose wrong, we will accelerate an inevitable decline in membership. Wouldn’t an atmosphere of institutional confidence help keep our words irenic and our attitudes charitable? Unfortunately, no one in the LCMS today can have that kind of confidence, and so our conversations about everything from guitar music to vestments to youth conferences are tinged with desperation. Demographers like to say that demography is destiny. Countries like Greece are experiencing immense social and political unrest because they have gotten themselves into a demographic situation which is intractable. Did you know that for every 100 Greek
By Joshua Palmer
grandparents there are only 42 Greek grandchildren? Think about that. Greeks are experiencing economic and social decline because they are rapidly aging, and aren’t reproducing enough to keep up their cultural institutions. The LCMS is not doing much better than Greece. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 10% of LCMS members have two or more children at home, 5% have three children at home, and only 2% have four or more children at home. 72% of our members have no children at home. Just like Greece, our church is rapidly aging, and we aren’t having enough children. Those of us who are worried about church growth might find it useful to look back at a time when the church was actually growing. It wasn’t so long ago. Over the fortyyear period from 1925 to 1965 the LCMS went from 628,695 members to 2.7 million members.
How did we grow during that forty years? Was it mass defections from other denominations? No, if anything that period was the age of denominationalism. Was it through large scale conversions of the “unchurched?” No, only a tiny sliver of the American public was “unchurched” at the time. Was it hordes of German immigrants fleeing the motherland’s political tribulations? Not entirely. The great waves of German immigration to the United States had crested before 1910. Was it outreach programs and updated worship music? No. All the glamorous church growth methods of the last 25 years aren’t nearly as sexy as the vanilla truth. We had babies, lots and lots of babies. But then, in 1965, something happened, and our church growth ground to a halt. A woman named Estelle Griswold sued the state of Connecticut so she could open a birth control clinic. Griswold v. Connecticut was the Supreme Court case that legalized birth control in America. It is not surprising, then, that in 1966 the LCMS stopped growing.
Remember that in 1965 we had 2.7 million members. Today? According to the LCMS website we have 2.3 million baptized members. Where did all our people go? Frankly, they were never born. This is why 72% of people in our denomination have no children at home. Our grandparents were the last generation to have more than two children on average. By 1961, the LCMS had about 2.4 million members, roughly what we have today. But we baptized 82,248 babies that year. In 2004, we baptized 32,851 babies. We’re having 60% fewer babies. This path wasn’t inevitable. We chose it. There’s a curious little book in the seminary library called Birth Control and the Lutherans by Alan Graebner. The author is a sociologist who was interested in how even conservative Christian churches so quickly abandoned nineteen hundred years of teaching against contraception in the first half of the twentieth century. The author tracks how the clergy of the LCMS viewed contraception over time, beginning with a firm, orthodox position against contraception, and
All the glamorous church growth methods of the last 25 years aren’t nearly as sexy as the vanilla truth. We had babies, lots and lots of babies.
then slowly, mainly for practical reasons, accepting it. What would the LCMS look like today if we hadn’t caved to social pressure and embraced the Pill? A conservative estimate of LCMS membership without birth control puts us at 4.5 million members, roughly double our
1930s, we would have more like 38 million members. Read that number again. 38,000,000. If we had 38 million members today, we would be the largest Protestant denomination in America. If there were 38 million confessional Lutherans in America, do you think we’d be so desperate for growth? But “Thou shalt not have fewer than four children” is not in the Bible. So where does that leave us, as future pastors? For starters, we should preach against the sin of abortion. And not just surgical abortion, but abortion via birth control. Ask yourself why it is it that most of us think “the morning after” pill causes abortions, but that the normal birth control pill does not. Both interfere with an embryo’s ability to implant in the womb. In 2008 the LCMS’s Sanctity of Human Life Committee produced a document called “Guidance on Contraceptive Methods,” at the request of the synod. In it they reviewed the current birth control options. The “Concluding Remarks on Hormonal Contraception” caught my eye. After acknowledging that most oral contraceptives can cause an embryo to die, the
If members of the LCMS had maintained the birth rate from the 1930s, we would have more like 38 million members. Read that number again. 38,000,000. current size. That would make us bigger than the current ELCA, twice the size of the current Presbyterian Church, USA, and larger than the Assemblies of God and Episcopals combined. That’s the conservative estimate based on a linear trend line. That is, that’s how many members we’d have if you took a ruler and laid it on a graph of our demographics from 1925-1965. But the funny thing about demographics is that they usually grow exponentially. If I have four kids, and they each have four kids, and they each have four kids, I will have 64 great-grandchildren. If members of the LCMS had maintained the birth rate from the
committee writes: “The LCMS Sanctity of Human Life Committee … cannot state definitively that hormonal contraception does not at least some of the time cause a chemical abortion. The medical and scientific community acknowledges this possibility, but cannot state how frequently or if, in fact, this does occur. In light of this, some Christian couples may have concerns about hormonal contraception. Rather than defaulting immediately to “the pill” or other hormonal methods, they should keep an open mind and make themselves aware of all forms of contraception, including natural family planning, barrier methods, and sterilization in certain exceptionally difficult situations.” Can we imagine Luther using such squishy language? Consider how Luther addresses contraception of all kinds: “It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God.” Remember Graebner, and his
book about the LCMS clergy’s about-face on contraception? Graebner writes that when the clergy changed their position on birth control, the laity followed. How drastically could we change the face of American Lutheranism simply by reversing the direction the clergy are leading the church? What if we teach that contraception is sodomy, like Luther, the Church Fathers, and all Christians up until the 1940s did? Imagine if we teach the truth that hormonal contraception likely causes early abortions? Imagine if the clergy in our synod actively encouraged having children. Imagine having one more child yourself. What kind of a difference would it make in our denomination if all our parishioners decided to have another baby? Families that would have only had one baby now have two (replacement level). Families that would have had two babies now have three (growth level). And the Church grows. Think of it as living a missional life. Every time you baptize a baby you take a depraved sinner and make them into a Christian. As Peter says on Pentecost, “the promise is for you and for your children.”
- Joshua Palmer is a secondyear seminarian.
“Itʼs Patience and T Passivity and Tacitu By Dennis Matyas From day one the same axiom has been repeatedly pounded into our heads: patience and tact. It has become part and parcel of an infamous lecture in Pastoral Ministry, an eye-opening class in which the prudent voice of Dr. Utech resounds in our heads. Tale after grievous tale pours forth in example after example of men who, after trudging through the 137-credit monster and receiving a divine call, effectively destroyed a congregation by their lack of humility, their lack of humanity, and their abundance of hubris. We listen with incredulity to the stories, our head-shakes and murmurs belying the puerile ignorance left over from undergrad. At the end of each woe, Dr. Utech asks, “With what do you respond to such a situation?” to which we drone, “Patience and tact.” We all know it, we all say it. Even now, four full years later, someone rings a bell and we all salivate: patience and tact. For my entire first year, this axiom seemed unassailable. Even now, given the
limited “real life” experience that first and second year M-Divers have, I can think of no better axiom, though mildly quixotic, than patience and tact. It has become Concordia Seminaryʼs version of oratio, meditatio, tentatio. But somewhere along the road, I noticed some of my classmates equating patience and tact with passivity and taciturnity. Perhaps it was the experience of vicarage, where it was pounded into us, “You have no authority, you have no say-so, just cooperate and graduate, and you better not screw it up or youʼll be sorry,” but somehow our beautiful axiom became an excuse for theological and pastoral laziness. But more than that, should the occasion arise for a brother to speak up on a controversial issue, any disagreement or offense caused by him must be due to a lack of patience and tact, and he is automatically seen as a ruthless egomaniac hell-bent on destroying anyone who does not agree with him. Perhaps my own case-study will suffice for an example: Just before
Tact, not urnity” Christmas last year I attended the funeral of my best manʼs brother– –a tragic and unexpected death of a twenty-four year old Army sergeant. At the funeral, with the body clearly displayed for all to see, the pastor spoke of the departed “who is in heaven for all eternity walking with Jesus in the cool of the evening, while we all wait until we die of natural causes. Hopefully and someday we can be with our friend in heaven with Jesus walking in the cool of the evening also, and isnʼt that so great that our final hope is dying and going to heaven, our home, to be with Jesus forever.” Insofar as it spoke of the present state of the manʼs soul, it was mostly true. But insofar as it gave me hope for the Resurrection, it was singlehandedly the worst sermon I had ever heard in my life. For all the casual listeners (about half of which were atheists and
agnostics) could note, there was no such thing as the Resurrection of the Body. My lack of certification (an excuse I have been reaffirmed in by several professors as legitimate) prevented me from breaking down this pastorʼs door the next day. Instead, I swallowed my rage and converted it into comfort for the family in words that were far more apropos, “He will live again, I promise you.” I then converted my experience into a future-hypothetical and presented it to my classmates in Biblical Theology, “Suppose I were called and ordained. How do I approach this brother in the ministry?” The response I got (with due respect to my classmates, especially since most of them are pastors now and Iʼm still not), was wimpy, weak, and gutless. They spoke of patience and tact with no intention of confrontation. They gave passive-aggressive answers like teaching a Bible study in a winkle or dropping Resurrectionlanguage in your prayers. “Approach him if you must, but do so in love.” No kidding? “Well, use patience and tact.” Thanks, I was in your P-Min class. “Maybe just pay attention to your own
“Approach him if you must, but do so in love.” No kidding? “Well, use patience and tact.” Thanks, I was in your P-Min class.
circuit.” So itʼs someone elseʼs problem? What are we afraid of? Since when does confrontation equal you must be a jerk? Since when does offending someone mean Iʼm not being patient and tactful? We are in an age of the LCMS that has conditioned its people for decades to roll over and die. I wonder what my generation of pastors will do: confront sin and error with patience and tact, or roll over and die with patience and tact? Because I can tell you what the last generation did, and itʼs not pretty. The axiom does not exist so we can chalk up our losses to the Crux Theologorum. The axiom is in place as a reminder of tentatio. It is (or will be) the worst part of our job to confront sin and error, but it is still our job. Sin and error should be approached with sorrow and solemnity, but it should still be
approached. Being a patient pastor means you are slow to anger, it does not mean you are slow to speak. Being a tactful pastor means you are adroitly sensitive to those around you, it does not mean you avoid confrontation. Though it causes your heart to pound and your skin to flush, you must confront. Though your hand shakes as you pick up the phone, you must address. Though your throat is parched with nervousness, you must speak up. You must not roll over and die as you take your calls. You must not disdain the orthodoxy of this institution by being a wimp. You must live up to the heritage of our faith. Fight with patience and tact, but keep fighting, I implore you. - Dennis Matyas graduated with his M-Div last spring and is currently an STM student at CSL.
“SMP Ain’t For Sissies”
By Rev. Dan Vines
What’s SMP? Well, I might explain it by saying that SMP students don’t attend Prof-nSteins, insuring there is plenty of brew for everyone. Truth be known, some of us attend class in our pajamas. I guess you could say we are the sheep of another fold. Okay, enough of this silliness, SMP students are distance education pastoral ministry students of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. We are those bright-eyed bushy-tailed guys on pages 36 through 40 in your Campus Pictorial Directory. Specific Ministry Pastor students attend classes online, work by way of Blackboard and Adobe Connect in virtual classrooms with professors here at St. Louis, and are being formed as ordained Lutheran pastors in the LCMS just like most of you. I assure you however, that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Dr. Arand likes SMP students more than he likes on campus students just because we have a greener education footprint! Other than being distance education students, we differ from on campus students in that we’re already working in a specific ministry setting at our
congregation and continue to work in that setting as we study and attend classes online. Most of us will remain at that same congregation and setting after we have completed the program. All of us work under a supervising pastor or mentor throughout our four years of study and will continue to work under a shepherding pastor throughout our ministry. Some of us were in the DELTO (Distance Education Leading to Ordination) program when the SMP program came along, and are now called DTEP-SMP students. The DTEP guys study along side the SMP guys and will be ordained at the end of their studies and will serve without a supervising shepherd following ordination. There are currently five cohorts or groups going through the SMP program, beginning with the Fall 2008 cohort who are about to start their last year of this fouryear program. Our mascot in the ‘08 cohort is a guinea pig. There are a total of 115 students in all five cohorts and SMP students make up just over twenty percent of all the Ministerial Formation students. See SMP on page 54
The god of Sports I’m not writing this to be controversial, cynical, countercultural, or any other ‘c’ word that tends toward a negative connotation. Primarily, this is just the recognition of a pattern I’ve observed over the past few years. I suppose it culminated in the fall of last year. At least, I think it was the fall because I distinctly remember feeling as though I were camping out in the frozen vegetable department of Schnucks. I’m sure the bitter cold contributed to my overall bitterness at the situation. The singular event to which I refer is a football game. Not just any football game, but one of particular concern (so I’ve been told) to fans of collegiate sports – Kansas and Mizzou. I’m sure the first thought that has now entered the minds of most of you is, “What side were you on?!” Well, I’m pleased to say that I shall now be hated equally by fans of both teams as I admit that I was an unbiased, objective observer (except that I tend to cheer for the losing team, so my allegiance has the potential to vacillate multiple times during a single game). Upon arrival, as soon as I broke into the glorious light of day from the constricting vehicle (much like an infant marsupial from its mother), the colors astounded me! Now, I’m not a visual learner, but such an explosion of yellow and black (and
By Martin Dressler
whatever it is that Kansas wears) would appear loud even to a dog! Obviously I was expecting to see a lot of color and to be deafened by the infernal din of marching bands, but I had not counted on the diverse age range. I saw children as young as two decked out in clothing and face paint, cheering for the team of their parents and booing the subhuman enemy. They knew to which team they belonged! They celebrated each touchdown, interception, completion, sack as though a cherished family member had made the play. In a sense, that’s exactly what had happened. A team has a narrative: a cheer, a flag, a history of glory days and evil days, heroes, colors, and a mascot. To be a fan (a true fan) is to be incorporated into ‘fandom,’ is to incorporate one’s children into ‘fandom,’ to catechize, if you will, one’s children into the narrative of that team. What’s most impressive is that parents and teams almost always accomplish their ends of gaining new fans. Parents dress their kids in team colors, paint their rooms in team colors, paste car-devaluing stickers on their bumpers, plan parties around games, reserve three to four hour time slots of team-devotion time every Sunday, and on and on it goes. Truly it may be said, “Train a child to cheer for
the Packers, and when he is old, he will not stray far from them . . . at least not to the Bears.” I wonder, how much time, energy, creativity, and excitement parishioners (and pastors) devote to incorporating their children into the community of the church? Do we put bumper stickers on our cars? Do we proudly bear the banner of the church (the cross)? Do we relate with wide and sparkling eyes the history of the glory days of Israel or the heroes of the Faith? Do we know the stories of the saints as thoroughly as we do the stats of the 1984 Heisman trophy winner? Do we paint our children’s faces with the color of the liturgical season? Do we get so impassioned when someone insults the Church as we do when someone mocks our team? I’ve seen shouting matches in the cafeteria over which receiver is better, during which participants had to leave the table lest violence ensue, yet not once have I seen so impassioned a discussion over theology. I’d like to think that’s because the seminarians are “all in one accord,” but most of us would confess that to be nothing more than a pipedream. I truly do not intend to start a fight myself, I only mean to encourage pondering which community receives the most passionate, creative devotion. What can be done to shift our worldview so that when we cheer “He is risen indeed,” it matches, indeed surpasses in intensity our well rehearsed cheer, “M-I-Z-Z-O-U”? - Martin Dressler is currently serving his vicarage at Immanuel Lutheran in Seymour, Indiana.
Seminary Faculty Guess Who? How well do you really know your CSL faculty? Try your hand at identifying the two mysterious faculty members below by using the clues for each. Answers can be found on page 53. Faculty Member #1 6. As a kid I used to be a whiz at yo-yo. 5. My dad is a pastor and my mom is a church organist. 4. My brother is a writer of novels. 3. I have a 13-year old daughter in 8th grade. 2. I received two degrees on the same day: an M.A. from Washington Univ. and an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary. 1. I made all-conference while playing for the Preacher’s basketball team during my time as a student at CSL. Faculty Member #2 6. Power Vinyassa (form of yoga) is a regular part of my exercise routine. 5. I like almost any movie directed by the Coen brothers. 4. I believe that high quality gourmet coffee is the only way to go coffee-wise and is actually a health food. 3. I hold as an unshakable truth that competing in sports at any level is pure pleasure, win or lose. 2. Since owning a dog, the distinction between caring for a dog and an eternally immature teenager has become fuzzy to me. (I have one and have had the other, so I know.) 1. I can’t sit in a meeting for more than 15 minutes without starting to think that life is passing me by.
Fun and Games
Having Fun with Genesis 1
By Dr. David L. Adams
Find the Hebrew words from Gen. 1.1–3 hidden in this puzzle. Note: The square at the top of the puzzle shown below contains 18 words from Gen. 1.1–3. How many can you find? The answers are given below the puzzle square. Note that in the puzzle the Hebrew words may be written right to left (because its Hebrew) or left to right (because Hebrew was written either way before the 10th c. BC) or even up and down or on a diagonal (because that makes it more fun!) Extra Hebrew words not listed below the square — and there are quite a few! — do not count. (PS. The first person in my Hebrew Readings class to submit a copy of this to me correctly finding all 18 words in the puzzle gets a bonus on the first test).
Immersion Trips | continued from page 33 Learning beyond the classroom The classroom is an effective place to learn, but not everybody comes to talk at a seminary classroom. I was in dialogue with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. These discussions were not an alternative to Mortal Combat, nor in the interest of finding common philosophy about our differing beliefs, but were interested in discovering a common understanding in how we live with and serve fellow man. Other insights I have been able to consider: Why would a man ignore imminent accusations of syncretism and pray at Yankee Stadium? How does a man teach the Crips gang about Jesus each week? I absolutely adore our faculty here, but some insightful men will never lecture in front of our classrooms at Concordia Seminary. The chance to hear them speak is offered through these immersion trips. Being submerged and reminded of being supported Though provided with inflatable floaties by trip leaders, the waves of immersion will lead to instances of submersion. How do I respond when sitting on a moldy couch, in a dark house, with a dirt-floor, with a sobbing mother as she awaits
Around the Tower
comfort and prayer? Is “I’m just a Seminarian”, the correct answer when approached on the street by a man who pleads, “Father, I need a blessing”, and my lifeline to Dr. Utech isn’t available? Uncomfortable situations are inevitable on these trips. What great opportunities to witness to others and be reminded that we rely on He who “Upholds us by His righteous, omnipotent hand.” Building unique relationships The friendships built among other Seminary students during these trips are unique. It takes quite a few Prof & Steins and nights on the town to know somebody like you get to know them on a trip. A sidewalk picnic in front of Shake Shak or a pick-up basketball game with children build a bond that Greek flashcards– even the participles - cannot. Bringing the immersion home The harvest fields are full of people who do not live in the suburban sprawl of the Midwest, have no understanding of confessions, no knowledge of who Martin Luther is, and may even feel shackled by the Liturgy. So how can I relate to these people? Continued on page 55
Laughter from Above
HERE’S YOUR SIGN... Bill Engvall created a comedy empire on the phrase, “Here’s your sign.” According to the Engvall theory, stupid people should be given an “I’m Stupid” sign to wear. Would your church be handed one of his signs? Below are 25 examples of actual, un-altered church signs. Very Punny • And remember, never in the history of mankind has anyone ever said, “you know, what I’m looking for in a church is the ability to execute a really terrible pun in ten words or less.” (The Lutheran Satire, Episode 7) • This church is prayer conditioned. • Want a new look? Come in for a faith lift. • God answers knee-mail. • Life stinks. We have a pew for you. • To err is human, to arrrr is pirate. • Souler energy used here. • Lent: Not just for bellybuttons. • The best part of waking up is Jesus in your cup. • Wal-Mart is not the only saving place. • God’s last name isn’t “Damn”! Hell of a Good Laugh • What’s funnier than joking about Hell? • Do you know what Hell is? (Come here our preacher.) • There’s no A/C in Hell!...either
Mystery Faculty Answers: #1 Paul Raabe #2 Tim Saleska • I kissed a girl and I liked it… then I went to Hell • How will you spend eternity - If you don’t love God. Go to Hell. • Smoking or Non-smoking? • You may party in hell, but you will be the BBQ! • Read the Bible – It will scare the Hell out of you. • Choose the bread of life or you are toast. Sign Boldly • Git-r-done fer God • Jesus is the Rizzle for the Sizzle • Do not criticize your wife’s judgement – she married you! • Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out. • God does not believe in Atheists therefore Atheists do not exist. • Be as good a person as your pet believes you are. • God expects spiritual fruit. Not religious nuts. • Having trouble sleeping? We have sermons - come hear one. • Go forth and multiply! But just once you idiots! • Bring your sin to the altar and drop it like it’s hot!
SMP | continued from page 47 SMP students will not graduate with an MDIV, but we begin the program as Vicars for the first two years, then, we are ordained after successfully competing the second year. If you would, please join us in praying for the guys in the ‘09 cohort who will be facing their certification for ordination interviews on campus this coming fall. Some of us are church planters, some are youth pastors, some are staff pastors, some of us serve multiple parishes as the sole pastor, and some of us think we are funny and should write articles for the campus newspaper. What’s it like to be an SMP student? Well, Rev. Robert Lund, from the ‘08 cohort is one who serves as the only Pastor for two parishes in Minnesota, also works full time, – As if serving two parishes twenty miles apart isn’t full time work – and studies in the SMP program. Many of us are worker-priests, meaning that we have day jobs; we perform our ministries and studies as our “off-time” permits. Just like you, we come from a variety of backgrounds. Most of us are second career, most have families, and some even have degrees in other fields. Rev. Steven Driver, ‘08 cohort from Valparaiso,
Around the Tower
Ind. has his PhD in Medieval Studies and is completing his MA in counseling while he serves as assistant Pastor for formation and counseling at Immanuel Lutheran. Oh yeah, and he does his SMP studies on the side. Rev. Brian King also from the ‘08 cohort lives in St. Louis, serves at The Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens as Pastor of children’s ministry and has his Masters in Theology and a BA in fine arts. Rev. Richard Schlueter serves as the associate pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Kirksville, Mo. which includes a dual congregation role at Peace Lutheran in Milan, Mo. and is involved with a campus ministry at Truman State University. Richard began as a licensed deacon and then enrolled in SMP 2008 cohort. Since Richard doesn’t have all that much going on, he also works full time for the Missouri Department of Agriculture to support himself, his wife and daughter. Some of those who are planting new churches include Rev. Mark Courser, 29, from the ‘08 cohort. He is working in the Texas District at The Crossing, a church plant that is part of the Soulthirst Church Planting program in that district. Vicar Jonathan Schultz, a former DCE teacher, chaplain,
and worship minister among other things, has been in church ministry for 35 years. He is from the ‘09 cohort, and is now a church planter at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Bixby, Okla. near Tulsa. He is awaiting ordination at the end of this fall quarter, his second year in the SMP. You can see why I say that SMP isn’t for sissies. Obviously, I can’t cover every SMP student even though there’s a great story behind each one of them, but I hope I have given you a good snapshot of what an SMP student is, so that
in October when you see a bunch of guys that you don’t recognize standing in line at the cafeteria, you will introduce yourself and help us find the forks and napkins. Those of us who are in the ‘08 and ‘09 Cohort will be on campus at that time for our annual “Intensive Training” week and would love to get to know you.
- Rev. Vines is a member of the 2008 SMP Cohort from CSL and currently serves as Staff Pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Aberdeen, Washington.
Immersion Trips | continued from page 52 Paul strikes me as confessional and contextual in 1 Corinthians 9, especially when he states, “…I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some….”. But they do have and sometimes recognize their essential need for Jesus. I have returned to St. Louis after each trip to realize the earth is an immersion experience, St. Louis included. I more comfortably greet others on the streets of Richmond Heights because of knocking on doors in Guatemala. I am not as hesitant to pray with a stranger in Hyde Park as a result of walking through Burroughs of
the Bronx. I don’t immediately (Lord help me) judge others when they are holding high their gospel light amid other faiths because of dialogue I witnessed in California. If you cannot seize the opportunity to take an immersion trip while here at Concordia Seminary, take a plunge in your own backyard. Here is the world that needs the Gospel. “I am going to prepare a place for you.” “Behold, I am returning soon.” Talk about immersion.
- Lucas Witt is a second-year seminarian from Iowa via Maryland.
Reason #57 Why Students Should Attend Prof & Stein You can share your latest translation efforts with your brothers... and find out that translating “adelfoi moi” as “my dawgs” is probably a bad idea.
16 30 14 28 4
September September October (Oktoberfest only) October November
All Prof & Stein events begin at 3:30 p.m. with a professor “soap boxing” at 4:00 p.m. Snacks and nonalcoholic beverages will be available.
The Student Publication of Concordia Seminary