Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reading: UPDATED

Well, as you can see I have finished a number of books. I have also read a few more since my last post on this subject. These include, After the Fire a book about how to care for your soldier when he/she is shipped out to a combat zone. Counseling and Confession, a small little book about the use of private confession among Lutheran pastors when conducting different forms of counseling. It is a very useful book for understanding the place for both private confession and any form of psychological counseling.

I have also added to the stack of "bedside" reading:
The Knights of Rhodes, Bo Giertz, translated by a Seminary classmate of mine, Bror Erickson
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephan Crane
The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Charles Porterfield Krauth
The Gospel in Dostoyevsky, Ed. by The Bruderhof

I will let you know what I think of these and those books still left in my stack of reading material. Mostly though, I have been preparing for the Missouri Synod's Convention beginning next weekend.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Dr. Paul Brand/Philip Yancey

This book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey is a doctor explaining the Christian faith through the lens of the different parts of the human body. So, this Dr. begins with the single cell and goes on to such things as our skeleton, our muscles, our different organs, the eye. All the while, you gain a small bit of understanding of the true complexities of these different, sometimes simple seeming, parts of each of us. These two men grant the reader a greater appreciation for what our gracious God has given us both in the first article (Small Catechism II: 1st) gifts of our body and its abilities. These men also give us a greater appreciation and a different perspective on the gifts we receive in our salvation (2nd article gifts) and our sanctification (3rd article gifts). Praise the Lord that He simply spoke into being we humans and formed us first out of the mud of the earth (Genesis 1 and 2).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Achilles in Veitnam, Jonathan Shay

Achilles in Vietnam, by Jonathan Shay is written by a Psychiatrist who works in Massachusetts with Vietnam veterans with severe Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Through the accounts of his patients and his work with them the Dr. explains many of the things we read about in literature from the Vietnam era and the same things we read about in the classics like Homer's the Iliad. Such things would include Berserk mentality. This is something that the character, Achilles, experiences after the death of his very close friend, Patroclas (sic). This is the attitude of a soldier who fights with abandon and does not care at all if he dies. He does not because of another phenomenon which has occurred prior to this, the "betrayal of what is right". This is where the soldier experiences a betrayal by his superior officer and it causes the soldier to smolder with rage over this event. This may or may not lead to the death of a buddy or it may or may not lead to the berserk event. However, from reading this book it would seem that if the death of a friend is a consequence of this betrayal then a berserk event is much more likely.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Luther Discovers the Gospel, Uuras Saarnivaara

This small little book from the 1940s is a response to the Luther research of the time saying different things that misrepresented what Dr. Martin Luther actually wrote and taught.

The people that Mr. Saarnivaara was responding to had Dr. Luther speaking like a Roman Catholic or like a protestant of the radical time. This, the author explains, has to do with who Dr. Luther was responding to at any given time. As well, the other Luther scholars had Luther discovering the Gospel before he actually did or after he actually did. So, in this book, Dr. Saarnivaara runs through the history and events that led to Dr. Luther discovering the Gospel through St. Paul's letter to the Romans and the lectures at the University of Wittenburg and all the history connected to this.

All in all, a wonderful explanation of these events for those who want to learn more about the great Reformer.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A wonderful take on the LC-MS convention in Houston!

Here is a post by the head of our mercy arm here in the Missouri Synod (LC-MS). He wonderfully expresses the Christ-centered approach we should all have toward this life. Something Rev. Harrison also shows forth in his book, 'A Little Book on Joy'.

A Little Book of Joy-By Rev. Matt Harrison

I finished the book "A Little Book of Joy". This is an amazing little book with a big bang. It is eye opening to see a lot of things in God's Word that I already knew, but did not connect. It is a joy to see all of the joy in the Scriptures.

For anyone who wishes to learn more about God's word and the joy that our gracious and merciful God has given us in our salvation would do well to read this book. Now! It will help you see your Christian life in a whole new light.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Synod Convention

Today I received three mailers for the convention later this month.

One was from a group that might be termed "politically liberal" within our synod. Two were from different "politically conservative" groups within our synod. They all are trying to convince me to vote a certain way and for certain political candidates that they approve of and not for those other guys. Well, so far, the "liberal" group is the only one who has run what might be termed a paper version of an attack ad. The more "conservative" groups have not done this. The "conservative" groups that I have received information from have told me what they think about certain issues that will be dealt with at the convention but not actually attacked any candidate or group.

Today, the two "conservative" groups sent their usual. The first sent a bunch of articles to read, giving more to do to pastors and laity who are already too busy with their day jobs. The second only sent a paper one of the candidates wrote. It is a long paper, and one I have already read, but it is a great paper outlining what our focus as Christian churches, whatever our denomination, ought to be. That focus is on God's word, and for us Lutherans, the Book of Concord the Lutheran confessional documents. It is not much compared to all the other groups sending literature this time around. This group sent me something one other time. All that was sent that previous time was a book written by one of the candidates. No, letter is ever included in these mailings. There is no letter to tell me that I must read this or I won't really know what is going on at the convention. No letter telling me that if I read this then, and only then, will I know that their candidate is the best. They just mail the information and allow me to decide for myself.

I thought this approach was quite refreshing. I wish more groups did this sort of work. I say that both for the political groups operating in Washington, D. C. and for the groups who revolve around St. Louis, MO where our church body has it's headquarters.