Religious Liberty in Culture and Courts

Gregory P. Seltz, PhD, Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL), joins host Kip Allen to discuss issues concerning people of faith in current events, current culture, and the court system. Learn more about the LCRL at

Lisa Reads…

The Samurai

The SamuraiThe Samurai by Shūsaku Endō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and/but think that what you get out of it is what you bring to it. Granted, I will have to read this one again to test the theory. My tastes and suppositions seem to been strengthened while reading THE SAMURAI.

Things that I particularly noted and appreciated:
-While I am used to books that paint Jesus into something that looks good on a Hallmark greeting card, this one reminded me of how truly strange it may seem to worship a dying man on the cross. It’s even weirder that this is God-made-flesh, coming with the purpose of bringing those who are offended by Him back into relationship with the Trinitarian God of the Bible.
-Baptism works. Sometimes it works in spite of the person being baptized.

Is it a perfect book? No. Is the theology always great? No. This is a work of historical fiction. It works well on multiple levels. It leaves me wishing for more. Sometimes, it left me cold. Sometimes I was offended. (That’s okay. Sometimes it is necessary to be offended to grow.)

View all my reviews

Happy “Clergy Appreciation Month”

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

1 It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith,
2 when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.
3 For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness, as Paul says in Romans 3:21–26 and 4:5.
1 To obtain such faith God instituted the office of the ministry, that is, provided the Gospel and the sacraments.
2 Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit, who works faith, when and where he pleases, in those who hear the Gospel.
3 And the Gospel teaches that we have a gracious God, not by our own merits but by the merit of Christ, when we believe this.
4 Condemned are the Anabaptists and others5 who teach that the Holy Spirit comes to us through our own preparations, thoughts, and works without the external word of the Gospel.
1 It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded,6 but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God.

Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 30–32.

These articles in the Augsburg Confession are tied together. Our JUSTIFICATION is from God, worked by faith. Faith doesn’t sprout willy-nilly from the air, THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY MINISTRY (A.K.A. PASTORS) preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments. The Holy Spirit works faith in those who hear The Gospel. After faith works, THE NEW OBEDIENCE begins showing up in our lives as a way to thank our God for these extraordinary gifts.

If God chooses to work through plain old human beings, far be it from me to argue. Pastors, their wives, and children certainly have targets painted on their backs!

We get to thank them for their work this month. This article is a lousy way to do it, but it’s my way to start.

Happy GET ORGANIZED WEEK?!? Who knew!

I admit it. A couple of days ago, I was surfing the web when I should’ve been writing. Guilt about my lousy efforts at writing in September was probably leaking into October, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was just easier than actually writing.

Naturally, I justified my surfing by saying that I needed it for story research. Yeah… Okay. I suppose that everything I absorb will probably find its way into my writing. Eventually. If I actually WRITE instead of frittering all my writing time away looking for LOL cats or videos of fractals to mesmerize myself. (Although… That video about that guy forging obsidian into a sword is really tugging at my subconscious. It NEEDS a story!)

man looking defeated under a mountain of paper
Drowning under a Mountain of Paper
Photo credit: on CC BY-NC

One of the potentially useful websites has lists of weird holidays to celebrate. According to that site, today starts GET ORGANIZED WEEK.

How depressing! That just isn’t my strong suit or favorite hobby!

So… I created a “content calendar” for this month. Monday is my day to post here. We will see how well I do at that. I also have another blog and a diary. Tuesday is for the other blog, Wednesday is for the diary. I will probably tell you whether I’m keeping it, but only if I’m doing well.

While I probably should have my head examined, I decided to take a break from the short story class that I’m struggling with. I am plotting a novel this month. I’m planning on trying NaNoWriMo. Maybe.

Since some of the homeschooling families at my church are forming a kids’ writing club, I’m helping with that.

I think my motto is when in doubt, start more projects! At least it keeps me from organizing stuff…