Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
This event in San Francisco is about the worst idea ever. "Around 30 people gathered in San Francisco on Saturday to take part in the sixth annual World Naked Bike Ride by pedaling through city streets completely in the nude.
Along with rides in cities across the globe, cyclists were demonstrating in protest of the world's dependence on oil."
The story at the link has pictures which are sure to make you gag and also make you wonder just how cycling in the nude has anything at all to do with oil dependence. My impression is many of these people would be better served starting a fitness program. Also way too many older men doing this.
On Friday afternoon a few seminary students sat ouside with us for a bit to enjoy the nice sunshine. One of the students is from Southern Africa and he brought along a bottle of Amarula which is a cream liqueur made from the fruit of the Marula tree. The fruit is about the size of lemons or oval plums.
The Amarula is mostly a dessert drink Christian told us and while creamy like Bailey's, it is very fruity tasting.
The best part of his story, though, was what happens when the fruit ripens and drops to the ground. It seems the fruit will ferment if left on the ground and this fermented fruit attracts elephants and monkeys who love it. That's why the stock photo of a Marula tree has an elephant standing underneath it. Christians said the elephants and monkeys will walk right into your yard to eat the fruit. What a great image. And fun to learn something new.
John Kerry brought 60's singer James Taylor to France with him this week to try and make amends for the US not being at the Paris world wide unity march. He had Taylor sing, "You've Got a Friend". The Huffington Post headlined this ridiculousness this way: "John Kerry Decides the Best Way to Apologize to France is to have James Taylor Perform."
Also as he left for Paris he told reporters he wanted to give a big hug to the French people.
Early last evening I sat down on the couch with my iPad and began scrolling through my Twitter feed to see what was going on in the world. Little by little more and more Tweets appeared about a hostage situation in Australia. Following along, the facts as known were that someone had taken over a Lindt Cafe in Sydney holding at gunpoint everyone who had the bad luck to have been in there at the time. Some patrons were forced to stand at the front window with their hands up and holding an Islamic flag.
Now things looked really bad and the BBC, Australian news outlets, others in Europe were all blanketing their coverage with this story. So I flipped the tv to our American cable networks. Not one was broadcasting anything live, much less this story which had worldwide attention. CNN had dinosaur stories, MSNBC was airing who knows what, maybe prison or ghost stories, and Fox had a previously taped Megyn Kelly program.
What we learn from this is that our 24 hour news networks take Sunday off. Oddly, those reporters who work for those cable networks weren't tweeting about this story either for most of the night. Everyone was off. There was no evidence of "news as it happens" last night from American news outlets. Around 10 Greta van Susteren finally heard about Australia and Tweeted: "BREAKING NEWS : An armed gunman is holding up to 13 people hostage inside a cafe in one of Sydney's main business areas [Sky News Australia]".
The frustration many felt over the absence of US news last night was shown in reaction to Greta's tweet. The relies were of one voice: "Breaking news 5 hours ago". "That's not breaking any more, Greta. You just woke up?"
The response to other late to the story reporting by others brought similar replies. Twitter was the only place to find live time updates.
Now this morning American cable network on air people have the story and they've gone from no presence to reporting with opinion commentary. How on earth can people who were asleep or otherwise not paying this story any attention, wake up and have "opinions" on who and why this has happened?
I turned on Morning Joe (MSNBC) this morning and one of their people translated the words on the flag the hostages had to hold up and then said, "This is to Muslims what the Lord's Prayer is to Christians." Oh my gosh, you have to be kidding! This is what passes for factual reporting these days. Click.
Our journalist world is a punk poor one nowadays. No one is a reporter, everyone a commentator.
Health officials in the Netherlands are after food germs and bacteria in a big way these days. They are placing large posters with wording made of actual food germs all over the country. The text on these posters give tips to avoid food poisoning such using a different cutting board for meat and vegetables, what temperature at which to set your refrigerator, how hot foods such get before eating. Also, stir your food you heat up in the microwave.
It's kind of gross when you think about letters made from actual food bacteria, but it seems to be working. I wonder how big a problem food poisoning must be in the Netherlands.
We have folders full of newpaper clippings detailing news out of Germany from 1989 through the early 90's. It's a timeline progression of sorts describing how Lutheran churches and pastors have moved from persecution to freedom of worship and belief. This particular story was written for the Collinsville Herald in April of 1990, just a few months after the Wall fell.
This photo shows the headline.
The second is a the picture of German pastor Hans Joachim Beeskow, the subject of the story.
And the story. You may recognize a Collinsville name, Archie Schoenbeck, who was the interpreter. I remember so well Archie doing this quite often in those days. You may have to enlarge this story to read it better.
Good Shepherd's Pastor, Dennis Kastens, was very involved with Germany and the church in those days as was Dale and the Lutheran Laymens League. Which explains a national story in the Collinsville paper.
Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. It was while watching this happening on the news that Dale, who was then working for the Lutheran Hour, got on the phone to people in the Lutheran Hour Ministries office to discuss the possiblity of getting over to Berlin to make connections with East German Lutheran pastors. After this was finalized, he took off for the first of many trips to what had been Eastern Germany. So many Lutheran pastors had stories and stories of how things had been for them working under an anti religious government.
I started a search for some older photos of his trips over there but alas! There was no such thing as digital photography back in 1989 or internet or cell phones. It doesn't seem that long ago, but in technology age, it was the end of the dark ages. As serious as these trips were, as religious freedom gradually arose, Dale did come home with a couple of pieces of memorabilia. A piece of the Berlin Wall he picked up as he walked along it and a model East German Trabi car. Probably one of the least exciting cars ever made, but that was what the people had.
He actually brought back a number of chunks of the Wall, this is one he has displayed in his office.
After a time, some of the East German pastors were able to come to this country to speak with synod and LHM officials. Oh the stories they told.
Since the Iraq insurgents (ISIS) have taken over much of that country, Christians are being forced to flee for their lives.
"Mosul’s Christians, one of the oldest communities of its kind in the world, had seen their numbers dwindle from over 30,000 to just a few thousand, but once ISIS swept into the city in early June, there were reports that the remaining Christians had fled. Interviews on Friday with Christian elders and leaders suggest that in fact many had hung on, hoping for an accommodation, a way to continue the quiet practice of their faith in the city that had been their home for more than 1,700 years. Chaldeans, Assyrians and other sects, including Mandeans, a Gnostic community who revere John the Baptist, could still be found in Iraq, and many made their home on the plains of Nineveh in the north of the country, an area mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Genesis."
On many Christian homes a symbol has been painted by the ISIS which lets other insurgents know Christians lived there.
This symbol stands for "Nazarene" which is a Christian terminology. It looks so benign, almost a smiley face. Then you realize it is there for persecution and destruction. Horrible.