The Glory Has Departed

Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on

May 31, Ascension Day Holy Communion,
7 PM Centray Daylight Time
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beneficial Insects - Plant It and They Will Come

I posted some simple improvements for the garden, and a reader responded about his efforts. He had some comments about beneficial insects, so I am going to concentrate on them and their allies.

This concept, whether called Creation Gardening, organic, regenerative, Carbon Cowboys, cover cropping, no-till, or another name - is to do as little as possible, simply letting the divine design of each living thing accomplish its purpose.

The wise gardener is one who reads more and pays attention to an abundance of YouTube videos on the topic. The social media will conveniently note our interests and associate videos, books, and products together. One leads to the other.

Beneficial Insect Attractions
Here are some plants that will definitely attract and nurture beneficial insects. Not to be missed - when roses get attacked, they are actually feeding the young beneficial insects, eggs laid near aphids to devour them. Damaged roses lead to perfect roses later.

The Mint Family - Clumping mints are attractive and will not spread riotously. They include Mountain Mint, Cat Mint, and some Bee Balms.

The Carrot Family - God seems to have designed this family as one of the best in attracting beneficial insects:

  • Queen Ann's Lace
  • Anise
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Fennel
  • Poison Hemlock is loved by ladybugs - but not recommended.
  • Wild Parsnip - avoid all contact. Horrible stuff.

Sunflowers are the aircraft carriers of the plant world. They grow roots deep into the soil, form nectar early, and have hundreds of tiny flowers that appeal to many insects.

Shasta Daisies are easy to grow, generating a cheerful area where beneficial insects will gather.

 Dill can be used as a cover crop or a
border beneficial insect haven.

Habitat for Insectanity
An easy way to encourage the beneficial bugs and spiders is to have a wild area of the property. It is better to have a higher, drier area, which helps the bugs have a safe haven and place to overwinter their young

Logs and stumps are modular tools for the garden, and they so so many things. They are perches for birds and squirrels, weights for new cardboard mulch, decomposition zones for all creatures. Wood plus soil means fungus and various soil creatures will gather to feed on it, and larger creatures will feed on them.

Let pests be pests. Except for Japanese beetles, they all have enemies. Letting their enemies feast on them establishes nearby beneficial insects.

Bird Is the Word

Creation Gardening is exponential. Growers should be ranchers of many, not just shepherds of a few. Exponential not only multiplies, it doubles, quadruples, etc. I borrowed the language from the Fulleroids like Kudu Don Patterson, who are not content to convert by the Word, as Jesus always did, but must always brag about their great numbers.

But Creation is exponential. What benefits the bugs will benefit the birds, and multiple species will overlap their work.

Birds are habitual. They go to the same places for food, water, shelter, and nesting. If food and water fail, they move on. Using no toxins will increase all bugs and spiders, food for birds. But eating the beneficials will not end their residence, only make room for more. Most beneficial insects will also eat their own, as the praying mantis shows, waiting outside the egg-case to devour its siblings.

The birds and bugs are looking out for themselves, but God has designed them to benefit our crops. Some damage will call out the beneficial bugs and birds to limit the damage.

 After I get something new, like fennel,
I study it and discuss it with gardening friends.

A Little Pot Is Worth Trying
Every so often I get a little pot of flowers I have never grown before - or do not have in this garden:
Lantana - clearance price, almost free.
Parsley - good for us, good for butterflies.
Coriander - flavor plus beneficials.
Zuchini - to grow on the fence and conquer the world.
Fennel - sounds good, beneficials.
Helianthus - permanent sunflowers? Yes.

 Grows like a weed, colorful, and comes back -
perennial sunflowers.

Why Southern Baptists dislike Mormons

 WELS converts people at their college.

Why Southern Baptists dislike Mormons:

"That's a bridge too far -- much easier is convincing Christians that Joseph Smith's new-and-improved version of Christianity is the "only true and living church."

Southern Baptists have been aware about the threat of Mormon missionaries for decades:

In the early 1980s, Southern Baptist Convention leaders discovered — much to their horror — that 40 percent of Mormonism's 217,000 converts in 1980 came from Baptist backgrounds. More than 150 Mormon missionaries had descended on the northern Georgia area alone, a Southern Baptist magazine noted warily in 1982, and they found Southern Baptists among their most promising targets.

Here's just one example of Mormon missionaries "lying for the Lord" in their campaign to convert Christians:
A Mormon missionary admitted by letter that he was recruiting for the Mormon church at a Christian singles group.

When the pastor confronted him, he outright lied to the pastor until the pastor showed him his own letter. Caught in embarrassment, he then apologized, only to turn around and repeat the same thing at a later time in the same church.

IMHO, Southern Baptists dislike Mormons in part because they have been competitors for tithing true-believers for a long time."

'via Blog this'

Friday, June 23, 2017

Simple Improvements to the Garden

Whether planting for food, flowers, or roses - in ascending order - the following steps will always improve the results:

  • Bacteria is the foundational food of life, so encouraging bacteria will increase the vitality of the soil. I used stored tap-water when I have used up the stored rainwater. Tap-water left alone for a day or two will lose its chlorination and cease being anti-life in the soil. 
  • Fungus is another foundational form of life, so improving the fungus growth means leaving plants alone, swearing off the rototiller, and adding wood products of all kinds to increase the fungus (wood mulch, bark, twigs, newspapers, cardboard).
  • Letting harmless, low-growing weeds grow, if they are not unsightly, is a good idea. They can also be elbowed aside with more favorable cover crops like clover, buckwheat, and wild strawberries. Tall weeds that are difficult to pull out can be snipped off at ground level (landscaper tip). I did that with hog peanuts, a legume that was growing too freely, but still adding nutrition for the soil. Woody bush starts get the same treatment.
  • Storing rainwater gives special plants a double boost. First they enjoy the rain. Second, they get another feeding when the stored rain is used on them a few days later - or right away for stressed plants. I try to keep rainwater around for soaking any new plants. However I dump stored water fairly soon, to stop mosquitoes from hatching.
  • Pruning a little each day is a good way to promote growth. I am harvesting roses almost every day now, so I use the time to remove deadwood from the plants. I also prune spirea flowers to keep them in bloom. The Crepe Myrtle will grow even better if I trim away a few branches at a time.
 Actually, my rule is -
Dig as little as possible.

So Many Filters - Looking Back at Augustana History

 A. D. Mattson was the subject of my PhD dissertation
at Notre Dame.

I was looking for information about one of the early feminist radicals in the LCA, because they chose her to give the A. D. Mattson Lectures at the LCA's Chicago Seminary. That led me to a journal article where they talked about the Augustana (Swedish-American) Synod as rather small. It had 600,000 baptized members at the time of the 1962 merger.

I wonder if Lutherans will remember Roland Bainton's
Here I Stand during this year of ignoring the Reformation's 500th.
The YDS chapel rises above the Georgian style campus.

I zoomed around the Net for a time, going from one article to the next, a combination of nostalgia about

  • Yale (where A. D. and his brother Karl were), 
  • the Quad Cities, where I am from, and 
  • various overlapping figures.

The Mattson and Bergendoff families were related. At one point Conrad Bergendoff was president of Augustana College, Karl Mattson was president of Augustana Seminary, and A. D. Mattson taught at the seminary.

Our son posed with the ever-gracious Paul L. Holmer.

Another connection was Gustav Andreen, the Augustana college president who left a full professorship at Yale University to lead their struggling college. His daughter and my mother were friends via the local teachers' network. I met Andreen's daughter at Augustana and she said, "Are you going to be a teacher like your mother?" I said, "No," and now I am teaching at three institutions.

 My dissertation advisor at Notre Dame
had some of the same professors at Yale that I had.
And he taught at Augustana College -
Stan Hauerwas.

I was on the staff at Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Haven, just down the hill from Yale Divinity School. The pastor became the Bishop of the district once it was ELCA. Mattson's brother Karl was the pastor of that congregation. When we were there, all the Lutheran YDS professors worshiped at Bethesda -

  1. Paul L. Holmer - Theology and ethics.
  2. Nils A. Dahl - New Testament.
  3. Sydney Ahlstrom - Church History.
  4. George Lindbeck - Theology, Official observer at Vatican II.
  5. Jaroslav Pelikan - Church History.

Roland Bainton had an apartment just around the corner from the church, and he was often around the campus. He was dubbed an honorary Lutheran, and we all came to hear him when he gave lectures. The Lutheran divinity students were numerous. My classmate in New Testament, Stan Olson, became a seminary professor, a bishop, one of the top ELCA leaders in NYC, finishing as the president at the failing Luther Seminary in Iowa.

Harvard New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl called
Nils Dahl the best exegete in the world.

I wonder if any of those who established these church and educational institutions would recognize who is currently living off those endowments today. Some of the endowment consists of gifts accumulated over the centuries. Most important is another endowment - the heritage squandered, with all traces expelled. But naturally, they want to be associated with the respect earned in the past. They will drain that away with their hysterical hatred of the past.

ELCA is no different from the LCMS, WELS, or Little Sect on the Prairie. ELCA is just a few years ahead of the rest. I could add details, but I have covered that ground many times before. That is why I write about apostasy rather than the glories of Holy Mother Sect.

The main library at Yale is awe-inspiring,
fashioned like a "temple of wisdom," as Bainton said.
But now, that wisdom is largely repudiated.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Greek Lesson Tonight - John 7:31ff

  • Use Lenksi for longer explanations.
  • The parser linked is handy for quick checks on a strange looking word or a puzzling ending.
  • There is no substitute for immersing yourself in the text. Luther definitely believed in this kind of immersion.

7:31 πολλοι δε εκ του οχλου επιστευσαν εις αυτον και ελεγον οτι - ο χριστος οταν ελθη, μητι πλειονα (greater) σημεια τουτων ποιησει ων ουτος εποιησεν
Irony - John is pleonastic here, using more words than necessary, but for emphasis.
32 ηκουσαν οι φαρισαιοι του οχλου γογγυζοντος περι αυτου ταυτα - και απεστειλαν οι φαρισαιοι και οι αρχ-ιερεις υπηρετας ινα πιασωσιν αυτον
33 ειπεν ουν αυτοις ο ιησους ετι μικρον χρονον μεθ υμων ειμι - και υπαγω προς τον πεμψαντα με
34 ζητησετε με και ουχ ευρησετε και οπου ειμι εγω υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν
35 ειπον ουν οι ιουδαιοι προς εαυτους "που ουτος μελλει πορευεσθαι οτι ημεις ουχ ευρησομεν αυτον μη" εις την διασποραν των ελληνων μελλει πορευεσθαι και διδασκειν τους ελληνας
36 τις εστιν ουτος ο λογος ον ειπεν,  "ζητησετε με και ουχ ευρησετε και οπου ειμι εγω υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν?"
37 εν δε τη εσχατη ημερα τη μεγαλη της εορτης ειστηκει ο ιησους και εκραξεν λεγων  - εαν τις διψα ερχεσθω προς με και πινετω
38 ο πιστευων εις εμε καθως ειπεν η γραφη - ποταμοι εκ της κοιλιας αυτου ρευσουσιν υδατος ζωντος
39 τουτο δε ειπεν περι του πνευματος ου εμελλον λαμβανειν οι πιστευοντες εις αυτον; ουπω γαρ ην πνευμα αγιον οτι ο ιησους ουδεπω εδοξασθη
40 πολλοι ουν εκ του οχλου ακουσαντες τον λογον ελεγον "ουτος εστιν αληθως ο προφητης"
41 αλλοι ελεγον ουτος εστιν ο χριστος; αλλοι δε ελεγον μη γαρ εκ της γαλιλαιας ο χριστος ερχεται
42 ουχι η γραφη ειπεν οτι εκ του σπερματος δαβιδ και απο βηθλεεμ της κωμης οπου ην δαβιδ ο χριστος ερχεται
43 σχισμα ουν εν τω οχλω εγενετο δι αυτον
44 τινες δε ηθελον εξ αυτων πιασαι αυτον αλλ ουδεις επεβαλεν επ αυτον τας χειρας
45 ηλθον ουν οι υπηρεται προς τους αρχιερεις και φαρισαιους; και ειπον αυτοις εκεινοι (emphasis) διατι ουκ ηγαγετε αυτον
46 απεκριθησαν οι υπηρεται "ουδεποτε ουτως ελαλησεν ανθρωπος ως ουτος ο ανθρωπος"
47 απεκριθησαν ουν αυτοις οι φαρισαιοι "μη και υμεις πεπλανησθε?"
48 μη τις εκ των αρχοντων επιστευσεν εις αυτον η εκ των φαρισαιων
49 αλλ ο οχλος ουτος ο μη γινωσκων τον νομον, επικαταρατοι εισιν
50 λεγει νικοδημος προς αυτους - ο ελθων νυκτος προς αυτον - εις ων εξ αυτων
51 μη ο νομος ημων κρινει τον ανθρωπον εαν μη ακουση παρ αυτου προτερον και γνω τι ποιει
52 απεκριθησαν και ειπον αυτω  - μη και συ εκ της γαλιλαιας ει? ερευνησον και ιδε οτι προφητης εκ της γαλιλαιας ουκ εγηγερται
53 και επορευθη εκαστος εις τον οικον αυτου

Back to Nature - Acknowledging Creation

 Gabe Brown found that crop failures improved his soil.

Two readers are just as interested in the new/old growing methods as I am. Caution - I have seen on YouTube videos that the pioneering growers are looked upon with suspicion by the man-made chemicals farmers.

 Salatin's mobile chicken house,
which follows the cattle, which are moved daily.

 Salatin manages the resources around him,
basing his work on God's Creation.

Stars of the new methods are:

  • Gabe Brown, with his emphasis on cover crops and the absence of plowing.
  • Joel Salatin, who has rejected chemicals and toxins in favor of cover crops, grazing, and letting animals be treated humanely.
Both have a number of YouTube videos explaining their work. Salatin's best book is The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.

I just bought the Kindle book - The Soil Will Save us.

These people have discovered what Rodale found many decades ago, that organic or Creation agriculture boosts the nutrition of plants and animals, the health of those who eat organically grown food.

I can hear my father's voice at the dinner table: "Chicken has no flavor anymore. They come from factories. Tomatoes taste like water." Our neighbor had a garden devoted to tomatoes, so we had sacks of fresh tomatoes with real taste. 

The chemical experts have scared people away from enjoying gardens. Every growing center has sacks of fertilizer and pesticides to use. My refutation of that approach is - "Have you ever taken a deep breath on those aisles? It is sickening." Many agree.

Most gardening books pass on the myths of the past, to make matters worse. A massive picture book will dismiss compost, leaves, and mulch in favor of extensive discussions on which NPK fertilizer to use. They are frightened to death about the damage potential of mulch and manure! I suspect that many books are simply sales brochures for the old order.

I got into organic gardening because my mother was developing her garden that way, way back when the oldest among you were struggling with trikes and dolls. Also, I saw the price of fertilizers and pesticides, truly a conversion experience.

The more I studied, starting with the Rodale books, the more I saw the perfect harmony of organic gardening and health, Creation and the entire Bible. Take away Creation by the Word - and the Scriptures are mostly gone, reduced to a Jefferson Bible of aphorisms, which is so much safer than the original version.

The US Constitution did not establish the separation of Church and Garden, but the modern minds of the Great Depression did. The more we were herded into socialism, now assumed to be ideal, the more we were embarrassed to give God credit for anything but bad news. 

"Why does God allow cancer?" is not as significant as "Why does God allow idiots to rule?" The second question is the big one.

Autumn Leaves
One discussion involved a gardener who gets tons of coffee grounds, absent a local supply of leaves. Just to point out a simple fact - our backyard has had 120 bags of leaves spread across the gardens in the last two years. Most of them are decomposed into the soil, adding carbon for the soil fungus, minerals for everything.

He wrote: I will consider the buckwheat. We did grow peas this spring and when the heat got to them, we cut the plants off at ground level and left the plant matter as a mulch and the roots to release their nitrogen into the soil. The more I learn about this stuff, the more sense it makes and the more I want to work to improve the soil, which is the foundation for a good garden. 

Above, I referenced "magic" in regards to leaves in the garden, but, it is not "magic", it is design; it is God's handiwork right before our eyes. And yet, like the fools we are, we deny what is irrefutably evident. Lord, have mercy!

Like the physician we visited yesterday, I see the plant cells for what they are under a microscope, not a blob but a collection of highly engineered chemical nano-factories, doing their work superbly. The work of drawing water from the soil and evaporating it into the air is just one part of plant engineering we take for granted. Stand in our shaded Wild Garden and experience the cool, refreshing air on the muggiest day. The tree air-conditioning units are working quietly, not simply to shade but also to provide evaporative cooling. I do not rake their leaves away or burn them, but deliver more leaves by the Town-Car-load.

Our attorney is busy with his agricultural plans. We discussed Gabe Brown and cover crops - and using autumn leaves to provide an ideal blanket for tender crops like roses and grapes. I never lost a rose to cold in New Ulm, because I enclosed the rose garden in chicken-wire and filled it four-feet deep with leaves. Most of them were absorbed into the soil by time the rose were ready to bud again.

Is this an accident? - A pile of leaves is an ideal, breathing and insulating blanket, with a lot of dead air spaces to protect the plants. And yet we can buy styrofoam cones to do the same thing that God provides for free. I would not wrap any plant in styrofoam for the winter.

Disagree? Off with your head!

Selective Diversity versus True Diversity
The current fad is selective diversity, with "selective" omitted. The idea is to empower the activist minorities while staging the takeover as diversity, so much more sensitive and democratic. That is why public education and most of higher education is monoculture, where original thought is condemned in the harshest terms. I told one class, "If you want diversity, why not treat the disabled as equals in higher education?" The billionaire's assistant was in the class and beamed at me. Her husband moved about in a wheelchair, unknown to me.

Garden and farm diversity mean letting God's Creation mix a bit, perhaps a lot. Previously I aimed at a rose garden that was exclusively roses. That makes sense to most people.

Getting up to speed on beneficial insects meant giving space for those plants favored by pest-eating insects and spiders. The ordinary Shasta Daisy became - "Oh, Shasta Daisy! Must have!" Borage for herbal enjoyment became Borage! - for building up the beneficial population. 

Roses are the reason. I see the faces of people getting a vase of perfect roses. What did I do? Almost nothing. The beneficial insects - many overlapping species - are lying in wait to devour rose pests or to lay their eggs on/in/near pests. Junior hatches, only to find himself inside a warm, fresh nutritious meal. At the worst, he is near the food. The more the plant cries out for help, the more eggs are laid. 

How do I know this to be true? The beneficial insects hover around the flowers in the vase, which sits on a stump or the hood of the car. The insects show up in church, too, because the roses go into a vase of water just before the service. 

Spray poisons for aphids? No, I let the insects and spiders do their work. I have a little rose damage early, hardly any later in the summer.

Cover Cropping - Related to Diverse Planting
They have found that cover crops do far more for the soil than letting it lie fallow. The living roots feed the soil by turning rain and solar energy into soil food, whether it is called humus or carbon or organic matter.

A diverse planting feeds far more beneficial insects, as I have learned. The moment I had Shasta Daisies planted, the Tachinid fly appeared. Looking like a housefly, the Tachinid is a true warrior against pests. I saw them before, but they seemed especially drawn to the Daisy. 

We need one more iteration of the rose garden. I like that term, which computer people like to toss into a discussion. I am going to most things in place but make Hostas the cover crop between roses. Something is going to grow on the mulch, whether Bermuda grass or Buckwheat. I am thinking that a selection of Hosta would make great solar collectors, Hummingbird feeders, and weed blockers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

God Created Weeds: Examples of Opportunistic Weeds -

 Crabgrass was brought over as a grain crop, since it produces
up to 250,000 seeds per plant. Church Growth was a commodity bought from Fuller Seminary and cultivated, another opportunistic weed that will not go away by itself.

God created weeds to take over, to cover bare and barren soil, protecting and healing it until better plants could be cultivated there. In a garden, the best protection against weeds is the healthy growth of worthwhile plants. Clover, wild strawberries, and buckwheat provide a low-growing blanket that supplants most weeds in our rose garden. Today I will dig out two clumps of field grass that grows shoulder-high. Those pests established themselves in early spring and grew from the rich soil and rain, shouldering competition aside.

The federal government sponsored and promoted the two worst weeds in US agricultural history - kudzu vine and the Chinese multi-floral rose. The feds now fine anyone who dares to plant what they once hailed as miracles that would solve all problems. The parallels to Church Growth, entertainment evangelism, and cell groups are too obvious to miss.

The Kudzu Vine of Fuller Seminary has swallowed
the Wisconsin Sect, the LCMS, and the ELS.
Staph Infection is Larry Olson's nickname in WELS,
but the gutless only joke. 

In the Parable of the Tares, "an enemy has done this."  Among the Lutherans, the enemy is the leadership. They are the apostates who used Church Growth the way ancient soldiers used their shields, as a moving wall in attacks and as a powerful defense against opponents. Anyone questioning Church Growth was immediately assailed in various ways:

  • Martin Luther Complex - as if the leaders ever read Luther;
  • Lazy - a big joke coming from plagiarists who visit members only under duress;
  • Loose Canons - revealing the fear experienced when the leaders see the Sword of the Spirit at work.
The Church Growth army interlocks its shields to negate any attack. Bivens rises up to protect Kelm from "slander," their word for telling the truth and proving the facts. Tiny Tim defends Kelm. Mark Jeske funds the heresiarch. The Mordor faculty invites him annually as the ultimate speaker for Mission Day, which means Church Growth Day. Martin Luther College (note the irony) invites all the Paul Kelm disciples for Evangelism Day, which is another Church Growth Day. And yet the college and sect are barely alive. Lesson learned? Nope.

 Mueller's congregation was so proud of their cross-dressing picnic that they posted the password
for the entire collection of photos.

When someone finally published an objection to Church Growth in WELS, Wayne Mueller, Prince of Dankness, denied any Church Growth in WELS, and yet claimed - if it were there, it followed confessional principles. Prince Wayne considers the Confessions a license to change doctrine, because that is what the Confessors wanted. So he pretended to be Lutheran, just as his pastor-son pretended to be a lady for the church picnic. Confidential to Wayne - your son was a leader at the weedy Church and Change cult - Church Growthy! and not subtle about it.

God promised pain in childbirth for women and gnarly weeds for the growers, as a response to the two orchard thieves. Ever since, God has used weeds to provide fertility when man neglected the bounty of the soil. I wanted to buy a copy of a famous treatise on the topic - Weeds, Guardians of the Soil. But that priced at $800 per copy, a rare book. So a classic booklet about hated weeds can be like gold, because it was the only one. But now it has been reprinted, and copies are as low as $8 on Kindle.

I enjoy identifying weeds and using them for a time. The Wild Garden is a perfect place to allow and even to promote weeds, since many beneficial creatures thrive among weeds and the remains of the weed crops. For example, wild bees use the hollow stalks of weeds for nesting. Rove beetles like a leaf litter home, high and dry, so they can go out and hunt slugs at night. Comfrey and dandelions create usable calcium for the plants, and a variety of plants will do the same, according to their individual skills.

God uses the weeds of false doctrine to awaken the sleeping souls of believers, to alert them to the dangers ahead, and to punish them for allowing error a foothold, an equal standing, and finally dominance.

But two cautions about weeds are in order. One is that weeds are prolific but sterile. Their abundant crops are not prized, eaten, or sold as commerce. The thistle seed you buy - Nyjer - is not real thistle, so there. So every Church Growth congregation is simply a patch of hearty, watered, carefully cultivated weeds. The squawking traditional members are eased out of power and the weed-sowers are installed, praised, and honored. The Lutheran Church Shrinkers will soon see their dynasties collapse, their children without church vocations, their lavish buildings sold to pay off debts.

The second caution is that weeds will quickly destroy a garden if not kept down by various aggressive methods. I shovel out those tall stands of weed-grass and put the lumps behind the bushes. "You and your sun-loving seed will never grow again!" Another aggressive method is to promote the growth of God's Word, simply by broadcasting it in as many ways as possible. 

The conservative Lutheran leaders are united with ELCA in doing stupid things, and they are reaping a harvest of ELCA weeds, from women's ordination to gay lib. Their faculty members have yet to teach Justification by Faith at their schools or to oppose the neo-Huberism of Objective Justification. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Programmed Sanctification from WELS - But No Justification by Faith

 Scott Barefoot no longer has Facebook friends,
and he just may jump the fence to the LCMS.

"You don't own me
I'm not just one of your many toys.
You don't own me,
Don't say I can't go with other boys."

Rev. Jon Hein accepts call

Rev. Jon Hein recently announced that he has accepted the divine call to serve full time as the director of the Commission on Congregational Counseling (CCC). Hein will be relocating to the Milwaukee area later this summer and will be based at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry in Waukesha, Wis.
Hein has served as the first director of the Commission on Congregational Counseling while also serving in a part-time role at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Summerville, S.C.  In his new call he will serve full time in his position as director for the commission; he will also replace Rev. Bryan Gerlach as the coordinator for all of the commissions that comprise Congregational Services (Evangelism, Worship, Adult Discipleship, Youth and Family Ministry, Christian Schools, Special Ministries). Additionally, he will serve as an advisory member of the Synodical Council.
The CCC was formed to assist congregations in the evaluation of their ministry programs. As a part of that process, the CCC is able to direct congregations to resources that will help to address needs in their congregations and to plan future ministry efforts - apart from the Means of Grace, of course.
In addition to building a network of counselors in every district and overseeing their work, Hein also has spent two years conducting a detailed study of demographic trends and ministry issues. The study has looked at the challenges facing our synod posed by demographic changes and cultural shifts. Hein’s study, his evaluation, and the CCC’s recommendations for addressing these challenges will be highlighted at this summer’s synod convention, so bring popcorn and NoDoz.
We thank God for leading Hein to accept this new call and pray for God’s blessings on the efforts of Hein and on all of the commissions of Congregational Services as they help strengthen and equip congregations throughout the synod.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder
Just wanted to share that no one should take it personally that I removed you as a "facebook friend" here... I've removed all 648 of you! I'm just tired of Facebook... The only reason I'm keeping my account at all, is that I need it to maintain the People of Grace page here on Facebook. If you would like to stay in contact, you can email me at: Many of you know my phone number... an even better way to stay in-touch!
Thrivent Funds WELS Worship Conference at ELCA College

Worship conference celebrates Lutheran worship

The WELS Commission on Worship hosted the 2017 National Conference on Worship Music and the Arts June 13–16 at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. More than 1,000 people attended the conference, which included a focus on Martin Luther’s contributions to worship as part of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Rachel Crites, the sole organist/pianist at Shepherd of the Hills, Anchorage, Alaska, is grateful that her congregation sponsored her conference registration and travel. She notes, “Being around other musicians is really a boost for me. I’ve attended the last four conferences. The last two have had a lot of sessions about the new hymnal, which have helped me understand how it will—or won’t, in some cases—work for our small congregation so far away from the epicenter of WELS.”
Rev. Bryan Gerlach, director of WELS Commission on Worship, says that the conference is planned with attendees like Crites in mind. “Attendees will gain some practical ideas and be challenged by fresh insights. But perhaps for most of us the conference is a triennial battery charge—an inspirational encouragement to return to parishes of any size and do our best.”
This particular conference included
  • morning and evening worship services;
  • a plenary address by Rev. Michael Schultz, the director of the WELS Hymnal Project, who offered a Reformation perspective on worship;
  • more than 50 breakdown sessions;
  • performances by WELS musicians in a wide variety of styles, some with talent;
  • a children’s choir and high school honor choir;
  • a collaborative art project that was displayed at the closing service; and
  • a juried art exhibit.
For Dawn Torth, though, the highlight is always the same. “I love the worship services and to see the variety of things that can be done to praise God,” says Torth, a choir director at St. John, Mukwonago, Wis., who attended her third worship conference this year. “At this conference, I particularly liked the chanting in worship, including the lessons. It really gave me new perspective on familiar verses.”
Funding from Thrivent Financial made it possible for leadership teams from around the country to attend the conference, because we need an insurance company to fund worship. Thanks, Mark Jeske.
To view the conference’s opening festival concert or closing worship service, visit

 Mark Jeske works hard for joint religious projects
with WELS and ELCA and Other People's Money.

We Took Roses to the Doctor's Office - And Then...

 Creation Gardening is available in print and
Kindle e-book formats.
The garden shown in Norma Boeckler's.

We normally take roses to a doctor's office, so we did that today, with a selection of Easy Does It, Mr. Lincoln, and Queen Elizabeth roses. He was pleased to see the roses, and I gave him a copy of Creation Gardening. His nurse already had the second one I brought inside.

 Queen Elizabeth was developed by Walter Lammerts, below,
who was in contact with Pastor Herman Otten.

We already knew the doctor believed in Creation by the Word, in six days. I mentioned Lammerts, and he said, "Which Lammerts." I showed him the picture of Walter Lammerts. The doctor almost shouted "Walter Lammerts!"

 Walter Lammerts earned a PhD in plant genetics
and organized Creation scientists.
Science does not preclude the Creation.

I pointed to the Queen Elizabeth rose. "He developed this rose, which is still one of the favorites of all time - and ours too."

Next the check-out person wanted a book, after seeing the roses. I went to the car for two more, just in case. Mrs. Ichabod took the roses into the reception room, which was packed, and showed it to a woman and her young son. He had been quiet each time we saw them, but he said, "Look at those roses!" She got the fourth book and another woman asked for the fifth one.

I went outside and got the rest of the books for those who wanted them. Some were in the reception room and others waiting to come in.

 Mr. Lincoln is the fragrance king.

So we had an informal discussion about roses.

"Roses are the most difficult to grow."

I said, "No they are the easiest."

"How do you get such beautiful roses? It must take a lot of work." The doctor thought the same thing. He was astonished I worked on them only thirty minutes each day.

I said, "All we have to do is stop doing stupid things." Everyone laughed. I added, "We use chemical fertilizers, which hurt the soil. We kill all the insects and spiders with poisons, and we spray more poisons on the roses to kill fungus. We kill the microbes that give us good roses."

My purpose was only to give the book and roses to the doctor. I figured that someone on the staff might want one, so I took two books inside.

Mrs. I lit up the reception room by showing off the roses, which are adequate proof that no-toxin Creation Gardening really does work. Se we gave away 10 books at one time.

They wanted to know more so I suggested Google searching and using the Creation Gardening page I established on Facebook.

No one can separate Creation by the Word from the Gospel, so a book on Creation is necessarily going to include believers as new creations by the Word.

Planned for 2018, a similar book based on the Creation Parables of Jesus.

 Paradise is a rose I got as an extra - $5.

Coffee Grounds for the Garden

I did some searching about coffee grounds and found I posted about them before. They are considered a long-term nitrogen bonus for the soil. Many writers dither and worry about the acid contribution, which can vary. Washed grounds are neutral. Others may add some acidic content, which would be good for blueberries and azaleas.

Coffee grounds are rich in:
  • Nitrogen
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

I began tossing coffee grounds bundles onto the new Crepe Myrtle twig, which is trying to bloom a little now. No CM twig has received more attention, coffee grounds, and rainwater than this one, near the kitchen window. The sunflowers have benefited as well.

Mrs. Ichabod said, "My Aunt, the one who talked to animals, used rainwater on her plants too. She could predict the weather." I countered, "She was in touch with Creation."

I had one sunflower bloom, from the hundreds of seeds I planted last year, so I did not plant any sunflowers this year. I can only guess the squirrels are planting them now, because I see sunflowers all around the yard, sometimes in clusters.

Bargain Plants - Fast Bloomers - Roses
I thought our roses were pruned well on Sunday. The altar flowers went to a neighbor. We had one inch of rain during the day and now about 18 roses are blooming.

 Double Delight must be ordered early
to have some for planting.

Most plants ordered through the mail will not perform the same year. They take all summer to get established. But bare root roses are two-year plants and ready to bloom in about a month. Those patient enough to wait for the bargain plants, the largely un-named plants offered in late May and June will bloom beautifully in a month. These overstock roses cost $6 rather than $24 each. So one bloom pays off the cost and shows the gardener how many new, interesting plants can be grown.

The bargain offers promote various colors without naming the roses. That way they can push the last of the roses out the door, fast.

The leftover roses will never be - Peace, Queen Elizabeth, Double Delight, Mr. Lincoln, or other standard favorites. But they are fun to see bloom. In spite of the names on the plants and the flowers portrayed on the Net, they are quite a surprise.

This $5 rose turned out to own the title
for largest hybrid tea bloom - OK no bride jokes.
Brides's Dream is the name.

Sweet Aroma of Gardening Success
We have so many plants blooming in the backyard now that the air is filled with sweet aromas, from the flowers of:

  • Elderberries
  • Chaste Tree
  • Clover
  • Buckwheat
  • Blackberries
  • Butterfly Bushes
  • Roses and 
  • Many more.

The plants are purpose-driven to attract insects that will pollinate them. They also use extra nectar to attract beneficial insects once they are attacked.

 I would call California Dreamin' one of the
new style of Double Delight like roses.