Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Republican Job Interviews...

I didn't watch much of the debate last night. First, Peanut wanted me to watch "The Illusionist" and I communicated this desire to Josh and he was a good sport about it. But I did see the Hillary plant. (By the way, the line of the evening, "While I was Mayor of New York, the Yankees won four World Series Championships." If T-Paw were the Mayor of New York would the Twins win four Wolrd Series Championships? I'm not sure why this seems so obvious right now, but I'm just going to go for it.)

So, here's the deal... the Republican debates are for REPUBLICANS to decide who best represents the platform, or as that doesn't happen so much these days (do you know how yucky tomato soup smells?) who the Republicans pick as THEIR candidate. Democrats will have their chance at the Republican candidate soon enough. Hillary's plant took up valuable time that could have otherwise been used for a legitimate REPUBLICAN question.

I don't think it is any surprise that Republicans and Democrats have different views on homosexual rights. And such obvious questions should be kept to the general election.

Lastly, Hillary needs to grow up. Planted questions are immature and representative of a person who can't take the heat from people who disagree with her. I don't want some biddy who needs to be spoon-fed as President.

As an aside, John McCain is not the only candidate with Vietnam Era active duty military service. Duncan Hunter was an Army Ranger and Ron Paul also served in Vietnam. Just an observation... "John McCain, you served in the military..." OK, what about the other two...

The Twelve Days of Christmas…

OK. So, here are links to a couple of different sites with answers:
Snopes declaring the whole thing false.
The Christian Resource Institute

A Partridge in a Pear Tree refers to Christ when he said, “I would shelter you like a mother hen.”
Two Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues (Liz also suggests the Holy Trinity)
Four Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
Five Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace. (Liz really likes saying the word, “Pentateuch.”)Six Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
Seven Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the seven sacraments (Liz also suggests the 7 petitions in the Lord's Prayer)
Eight Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
Twelve Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed (Liz adds also the 12 Tribes of Israel)
And of course, our “True Love” is God.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This week, in the life of Baby…

We begin week 10 (so those keeping track can do so). When I say “week 10” we are not saying “Baby has been alive for 10 weeks.” It means it has been 10 weeks since the first day of my last menstrual cycle.

Baby is now officially a “fetus.” And that’s very exciting! Baby should be between 1 inch and 1 and 1/3 inches and weighs in at four paper clips. So, we shall call Baby “Peanut” this week. Sure, smaller then an average sized peanut, to be sure, but still cuter then “Walnut” or “Filbert.”

Peanut’s toes have now formed and are ready for counting! And Peanut’s eyes are open, but will begin to fuse shut for the next three or four months. Male or Female members are still forming. Peanut now has external ears and an upper lip. And, Peanut no longer has a tail.

Also, if you follow the link, one can find another link where one can hear a 10 week old baby’s heart beat. It’s pretty cool knowing that’s what’s going on!

And for those interested in the mommy issues… I’m actually feeling less nauseous in the mornings, though I’m still exhausted when I get up. I’m “showing” a little and I’ve gained a little weight. But, most of the clothes I was wearing last winter fit me well (with the exception of button downs). So, I don’t particularly look pregnant. I’m also croupy. I can’t take general asthma medication, only my fast acting inhaler. And I can’t take cough medicine or anything like that. Oh, well.

Why Ruin a Perfectly Good

Song about materialism and bragging about the loot our husbands get us with Christmas symbolism? Oh… it’s a CHRISTMAS song. One imagines that perhaps there are more important things to think about this time of year.

OK, so I’m sure everyone has seen the forward on the 12 days of Christmas and its religious symbolism. The story goes that back in the day, either King Charles or Oliver Cromwell (depending on your Christian denomination) banned religious Christmas music. So, either the persecuted Puritans or persecuted Catholics (see above caveat) made up “The 12 Days of Christmas” to communicate truths about the Christian faith. Of course, since the internet says it is true, it really must be so. But it is a fun exercise anyway.

What, do you think I’m actually going to tell the answers now? Nope. Let’s see what you can come up with:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree:
Two Turtle Doves:
Three French Hens:
Four Calling Birds:
Five Golden Rings:
Six Geese A Laying:
Seven Swans A Swimming:
Eight Maids A Milking:
Nine Ladies Dancing:
Ten Lords A Leaping:
Eleven Pipers Piping:
Twelve Drummers Drumming:
The True Love:

Here’s a hint… you’re actually counting things. So, this is not “God likes the number seven.” And, even though this is a Lutheran Blog, my guess is the Catholic Catechism would help you more. (Which makes me more inclined to believe it was under the persecution of Oliver Cromwell that the Catholics made this song, should the urban legend be true.)

I’ll post the answers later and also some alternatives I’ve come up with. Leave your suggestions in the comments at that time. No fair ruining the game for anyone else or I will ban you from commenting. Of course, if you would like to post your answers on your blog, I’m not stopping you. You may put the link in the comments after I have posted the answers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Separated at Birth?

With apologies to the Fraters .

Bobby McFerrin and Joel Osteen ?

At least Bobby got over “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in the ‘80’s and has moved on to more creative and intellectually stimulating works. Wonder if McFerrin gets royalties from Joel for the message inspiration? He should.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Follow up on the Baptism Series…

First, I want to say a special thanks to Barb the Evil Genius for the extra encouragement and links! That was super cool of you! And also, thanks to those who have stopped by to visit!

I haven’t ventured into any topic as in depth before on this blog, and such things are intellectually challenging and exhausting for me. I hope to venture into a topic in such a manner again, but it’s going to be after Christmas, unless inspiration strikes.

I also want to give a little hat tip to Scotty … I don’t like carrots in my chicken soup, either. And though I probably wouldn’t eat your gumbo (unless you used chicken instead of sea food), and though I still think you’re mistaken about this Santa thing, you’re still a neat guy and a great encouragement to Josh. Our prayers are with you in your study and publishing efforts.

Anyway, Baptism seems to be a popular topic of late, and so here are some further resources on the topic. Thanks to tkls2myhrt from Katie’s Beer , we have a great post on Baptism from Confessing Evangelical. Also, Kelly Klages provides us with a thorough discussion on baptism (which I haven’t entirely read but intend on). And finally, we have hour 1 and hour 2 from the September 18, 2005, Issues Etc. discussion on baptism.

Holiday observations…

The more I think about it, there is one, and only one, important thing I learn during holidays… I am a dirty rotten sinner. (Isn’t this what all Christian holidays are about anyway? Christmas, I’m a dirty rotten sinner that needs God to send His son into the world to die for my sins. Easter, I’m a dirty rotten sinner that needs God to send His son into the world to die for my sins. Thanksgiving, I’m a dirty rotten ungrateful sinner that needs God to send His son into the world to die for my sins…)

I mean, forget the hurt feelings I experienced because my Aunt was self righteously giving me input on my weight (mom should be glad I didn’t say what I wanted to say, not that I’m looking for a reward for thinking nasty thoughts, but I didn’t give into them). I did my fair share of baiting my relatives, too. And, you know, when I go and visit Josh’s family, it’s the same. I get justifiably hurt feelings about this or that, but I pick on them too. Families, because they are closest to us, are good, very good, at getting us to sin, either intentionally or unintentionally.

And so, during the holiday season, ask for a special measure of grace. Not to sound defeatist or anything but even if you try really really hard not to sin towards your family, trust me, they’ll get hurt feelings about something or other or you’ll inadvertently say or do or you’ll intentionally say or do something sinful. Remember that Jesus died for your relative’s sins just as much as he died for yours. And remember that anytime is a good time for confession.

Friday, November 23, 2007

On Torii Hunter…

So, here’s the plague of the small market team, market forces. A particular player is worth the marginal revenue he brings in. But, here’s the kicker, there is also full market value to contend with.

You see, a player means something different to different teams. For example, the Twins have shown the unwillingness to field a World Series caliber team. The Twins have been a winning team and fun to watch, but Torii Hunter’s marginal revenue is strictly fan based. The Angels, however, are a larger market team where Torii Hunter might be part of the couple of additional players needed to clinch a championship. And so, as Torii Hunter might be part of a championship formula and the additional revenue that means, the Angels are willing to pay more for him.

The Twins said that Torii is worth $15 million a year for three years while the Angels said Torii is worth $18 million for five years. On a year to year basis, that’s a 20% premium, and Torii got the contract length he wanted, which makes the Twin’s offer kind of insulting (or as insulting as $15 million a year can be).

This makes me a little more disillusioned with the Twins franchise. It says to the fans, “Hey, we’re going to be the farm system for championship players, but we’re not going to field the actual championship team. Thanks for the new stadium.” And it says to players who express interest in being a life long Twin, “We expect you to value the Twins uniform at a steep discount.”

The Twins are still a great team to watch. But I don’t think I’ll get as invested in baseball as I have been. Not that Twins baseball isn’t fun, but the Twins organization has pretty much said that they won’t reward loyalty and they don’t want to win *that* much. We can also say good-bye to Santana, Mauer, Morneau, and anyone who exhibits championship caliber talent. In the game of “chicken” that is the free agent market, the Twins flinched and Torii Hunter came out on top. Good for him. I ask the Twins, now what?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Picture

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In which Josh and I....

Broaden our horizons...

When Josh mentioned he had never seen "It's a Wonderful Life," I was horrified. Joined Netflix and took care of that problem.

And so, tonight, we both saw "Citizen Kane" for the first time. Josh pointed out that the media, indeed, believes it can tell us what to think. "All the news that's fit to print" and all that. We also decided it is hard to find movies you have to really be mentally engaged in these days.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
And this year, I am also thankful to spend Thanksgiving with Josh and for my little Beanie.

This week, in the life of Baby…

Elbows will complete and the little toe rays will become toes. Male or female members will continue to form and bones will continue to harden. Also, Baby will grow to be around the size of a kidney bean, therefore, this week I will be referring to Baby as Beanie Baby. Beanie will also weigh in at a gram this week, or about the weight of a paper clip. Between now and December 20th, Beanie will grow from kidney bean to slightly bigger then kiwi fruit.

Beanie will also begin to move away if touched through my abdomen. This, however, does not make it open poking season on my tummy (or I’ll start to poke your tummy when you next have nausea). I may be open to letting people I know personally give Beanie a little gentle rub, if asked first. (from

OK, and so here’s my little bit of vanity for you all. I broke down and got out my middle weight clothes from when I was loosing weight. My six’s and eights just didn’t last long after the pregnancy test. I’ve kept things to six lbs, but being extra gassy and bloated doesn’t help. My large and extra large blouses don’t fit well and I feel like a cow in them. So, I sucked it in and got a pair of maternity corduroys and also two maternity tops. I feel much better knowing I have a couple of nice tops to wear to church that fit well, so make me feel pretty. That means I’m going on the hunt for some maternity patterns to make.

The nice thing about having friends who have had babies is I can also beg tops off of them. But, they’re all still in child bearing years and taller then me, so I’m going to be making/buying most of my own pants and skirts.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Baptism 4...

I want to start this off by expressing my respect for Anonymous. Most Baptists and other revivalist Evangelicals deny using the theology or descending from the theological heritage of others. As Anonymous is being honest with Anon’s theology, I in turn give Anonymous some credit. Anonymous has quoted a theologian Anon respects, and in turn, this pastor has mentioned those he claims his history from. Furthermore, Anonymous at a minimum acknowledges that tradition and history are important when considering theology. Most Baptists and revivalists are not this honest, and so my debate with Anonymous, though similar to that with members of my extended family, is on a higher intellectual level because Anonymous and I are not just debating scripture but what theological heritage is the proper theological heritage to cling to. I hope, at least, I am representing Anonymous’ case, in this manner. And I hope Anonymous is enjoying our debate as I am and that it stretches Anon’s faith as much as it is stretching mine.

Anonymous has, again, asked that I take a look at Infant Baptism, Its History and Its Harm by Dr. William Pettingill . This has been published, apparently in a prayer book, as such I take this as an acknowledgement that supplemental devotional work and supplemental theological work is of value to Anonymous.

As an introductory statement, for the reference of my other readers, Pettingill does not speak in the manner which we have grown accustomed to in current writing and sermons. He does not stick to a particular theological order nor does he site his outside resources. Furthermore, he talks about some things that he hopes his audience will find common knowledge, which I do not consider common knowledge. This is annoying at a minimum. So, if the following explanation seems disorderly, I am taking things in the same order as Pettingill. I am intentionally ignoring some points and not others, and most of the points I am not addressing have to do with my annoyance at Pettingill’s style which leads me to the inability to comprehend all of his points. I have attempted to site or clarify some aspects of Pettingill’s writing, and at times have asked Anonymous for help. If Anonymous wishes to continue an honest debate, I hope Anon will in the future provide citations where we are accustomed to citations in modern writing and perhaps also do some of the historical research. I hope such, as I do not feel I should have to do the work on something Anonymous is lending to our debate.

First off, I have a problem with the following statement: “I am convinced that believers should be baptized in water. If I were compelled to choose [Liz adds: between no water baptism and allowing for infant baptism], I would unhesitatingly say, ‘no water baptism’ rather than the baptism of infants.” Jesus says that baptism is an important part of discipleship, and yet, a minister of the word of God would put an end to baptism just because he disagrees with how most Christians administer it? This is a very bold and disturbing statement. This reeks of one who feels they have the right to take away from the very word of God, which is condemned in Revelations.

…infant baptism is responsible for sending more people to Hell then any other cause.” Again, this is a very bold and disturbing statement. First of all, what sends us to Hell other then sin? And furthermore, even if infant baptism is a sin, and I believe it not to be sin, placing strengths of preference on sin is condemned by the Bible. The wages of all sin is death. And no one sin is less bad then another.

Baptism is part of making disciples of all nations, as such, there is no objection to infant baptism in scripture. And furthermore, in instances when entire households were baptized, infants are therefore included as a member of a household. However, I also have an objection to, “The question here is the bringing of infants who are too young to come by themselves.” Pettingill teaches that people choose Jesus where Lutheran, and I believe the Bible, teach that God chooses us. There is a strong difference between the two theologies and this difference is really the key to our entire debate.

It [infant baptism] resulted from the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, the teaching that baptism is essential to salvation.” What makes things more clear then “Make disciples of all nations, BAPTISING them…” or “Repent and be baptized…” Baptism is necessary for salvation.
I am not sure what Pettingill is getting at when he says, “…and so baptism of unconscious infants came into vogue among many churches.” Anonymous, is he talking about stillborn infants or is he talking about infants in general?

It is reliably estimated that over fifty-million Christians were put to death during the ‘Dark Ages’ covering twelve or thirteen centuries [Liz adds: I am not informed enough about periods of the world to dispute the time frame of the Dark Ages, however I will assume that Pettingill actually means the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as this makes more sense with the numbers he is talking about], mainly because they rejected these two errors [Liz adds: infant baptism and baptismal regeneration] and insisted that salvation was the gift of God, apart from works or ceremonies.” First, I think these deaths can be also attributed to the Black Death , the 100 Years War, and also The Great Famine. I cannot, using my resources, find any other mass death during that era. I invite Anonymous to show otherwise, however, I will until then consider this point refuted.

Onto the re-baptizers. Again, as Pettingill did not provide the doctrines of the re-baptizers he quotes, I did a little research on the various sects mentioned among the re-baptizers. I tried to find them all, but was unable to do so. As such, I hope Anonymous will help the debate along by filling in holes his source leaves.

Below are four of the doctrines Pettingill holds up as standard bearers of Anabaptists.
Montanism: Montanus believed that he was the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, which is blaspheme. I recommend Anonymous shun any theological heritage from him.
Novatianism: Novatian had problems readmitting lapsed Christians back into fellowship. I can’t find anything else on his beliefs, and did not see anything about infant baptism.
Paulicans: The Paulicans believe that Christ was a created being and have similar beliefs to the Mormon theology that Christ earned God’s favor and then became God. I recommend Anonymous shun all theological heritage from the Paulicans.
The Waldensians: I don’t see anything about infant baptism in my brief search of their beliefs… perhaps Anonymous would enlighten me?

I do not dispute the Reformers did persecute Anabaptists.

I do not dispute Pettingill’s history on Church and State in America. I have to do more thinking on whether or not state organized religion is a help or hindrance to conversion to Christianity in Western States. I would perhaps hold that if we are also talking about Islamic States or totalitarian states, that indeed the union of religion and state is a hindrance. However, I am not sure of the strength of Pettingill’s argument.

I do not have an argument with the Lutheran Position as Pettingill stated here (though if another Lutheran has more insight, please feel free to comment):
"The Lutheran church teaches that baptism, whether of infants or adults, is a means of regeneration. Martin Luther himself, when asked whether unbaptized infants are lost, said: Not lack of contempt for, the sacrament condemns. I hope that when little children are denied baptism without their fault, and the command of Christ and prayer are not despised, the kind and merciful God will graciously remember them. Let their souls be left in the hands of and at the will of their Heavenly Father, who, as we know, is merciful."

However, I find Pettingill to be uncharitable here, “Mind he says only ‘I hope.’ Not a very good foundation for faith. Mr. Luther should have done better then that,” speaking of a man with higher education and superior intellect (as judging by the quality of writing), Pettingill is not stating his true objection, which I believe to be one must be absolutely certain about all aspects of doctrine before being a true Christian. Whereas Lutherans do not have a problem believing there are aspects of faith and doctrine we place our hope on, but believe we will not understand until Heaven.

Anonymous has provided a very weak theological argument refuting infant baptism. Pettingill, it seems, does not place importance on Baptism at all, as he would take it away rather then let an infant be baptized. Baptism was clearly important to Christ, his disciples, and also early Christians. Pettingill goes on to claim infant baptism is a sin and is the sin that damns more people to Hell then all other sins. Pettingill uses people who blaspheme to justify his claim as well as two people whose views on baptism are hard to come by. (I couldn’t find anything on others that Pettingill mentioned, or anything where I could discern the true beliefs of those mentioned. However, based on the four, I am satisfied that Pettingill’s argument is very weak.) Pettingill confuses those who died in human tragedies during the dark ages with those who died true martyrdom. And, the legitimate persecution of the Anabaptists throughout the Reformation does not a solid theology make. Furthermore, the involvement of the Anabaptists in the founding of America does not make a sound theology.

I am still content knowing my baby will be baptized into Christian faith as an infant.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The heart of our debate…

Before I post “Baptism 4,” which is still undergoing fact checking, I thought I’d address the heart of what Anonymous is trying to say, “Baptism is not your get out of Hell Free Card.” I would also argue that neither is reciting the sinner’s prayer, even if you REALLY REALLY mean it with ALL your HEART and SOUL.

At risk of sounding self-righteous like the Corinthians when they debated who they follow, be it Paul, Peter, Apollo, or as the “truly sanctified” would say, “We follow Christ,” I was saved 2,000 years ago when Christ died for my sins and rose again. Otherwise, how could Christ say, “It is finished.”

Now, Lutherans do not believe, it is my understanding though I could be wrong, in the Calvinist double predestination where by God not only chooses His followers but also chooses who goes to Hell. Lutherans believe God chooses His followers and WE choose Hell for ourselves.

So, how do you not choose Hell? We can’t do anything other then choose Hell. We cannot earn our salvation. We are all sinners, deserving of eternal damnation in Hell. As scripture says, “The wages of sin is death.”

How do you become a follower of Christ? That is a good question and I believe there are different answers. For example, let’s say you have two devout eighteen year old Christians, one of Lutheran tradition and one of Baptist tradition. And they are sharing their testimonies. Both, by the fruit of their lives are obviously Christians. In their discussion, the issue of “when did you first believe” comes up. And the Lutheran says, “Well, you know, I can’t remember not believing.” And, though the Baptist was told when they said the sinner’s prayer, they say, “You know, I also have no memory of not believing in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.” They ponder this. And this much reflects my faith journey. My parents taught me from my infancy the scripture and I can’t remember not believing. So, my spiritual walk, if you will, started at my birth.

Now, what of someone who didn’t grow up in the faith and receive pure teaching from infancy? The conversion, by nature, is easy to describe. There is a point in time when original repentance occurs and follows by baptism.

I believe in regenerative baptism. In other words, I believe ALL baptism is regenerative, even adult baptism. Regenerative baptism doesn’t “save” me as Anonymous is trying to claim my belief is. No. The sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus is what saves me. Baptism is one of the means by which God bestows his Grace upon us for the forgiveness of sins (the other, Holy Communion). I believe that people receive the Holy Spirit at baptism. And I believe that an infant’s spiritual journey begins at baptism. Now, to clarify more, I am not entirely sure if baptism should be administered to infants in non-Christian families. I trust God in His mercy in regards to those souls. Part of the baptismal vows is that parents vow to bring their children up in the faith, and I don’t think non-Christian families can make such a vow. However, I am all in favor of the tragic baby is dying at the hospital and the parents want Baby baptized… that’s different, in my opinion.

I also want to clarify that I do not believe baptism is the only way a person receives the Holy Spirit. I did not receive the Holy Spirit through baptism. The Holy Spirit was at work in my life before then, as such, I am not arguing baptism is the only way to receive the Holy Spirit.

Finally, how does a Lutheran receive assurance of salvation? You remind a Lutheran to cling to their baptism where they received the grace of God for the forgiveness of sins. Remind the Lutheran that when they repent of their sins each Sunday and receive absolution for their sins, they are reminded that those who repent of their sins receive the promise of eternal life.

I think Anonymous’s family and my family could be friends. In other words, I think I’d like the Anonymous family very much and our children could play together without sinful influence and we adults can all sit down around tea and a fruit tray and have a great old time. I think Anonymous is probably a very responsible citizen and makes a good member of Anon’s community. However, I think Anonymous is being overly gracious with the age of accountability, particularly in the violent culture we are living in.

I don’t think Anonymous means that this 17 year old multiple sex offender is not responsible for his sins. I also don’t think Anonymous means that school-aged mass murders are not responsible for their sins. I think Anonymous is observing the “good kids” around Anon and when talking about the age of accountability.

I’ve taken some statistics classes, and when setting up a statistical test, you have two hypothesis; the commonly accepted truth and what we think is really going on. For example, it is commonly accepted that 12 ounce boxes of Brand X cereal are really 12 ounces. But, if you are a Weight Watchers person and measure everything, you observe after awhile that you are not getting 12 ounces of cereal out of Brand X boxes. So, you propose a test that at the production line, they take every 10th box to see if there are really 12 ounces of cereal going in. It turns out that the company was stiffing you of three ounces of cereal! As such, the company remedied the situation and now you are getting your full 12 ounces worth.

World wide, the commonly accepted truth about the state of mankind is that man is generally “good.” This is why we have ages of accountability and we have a hard time admitting little babies are sinners, or even our own need for salvation for our sins. With regards to the age of accountability, all I need to demonstrate kids are responsible for their sins is point out some teenage murders and rapists. With regards to small children, all I need to do is say, “You punish your kids when they disobey, don’t you?”

To be an honest person, one must look into the mirror of the Law. Jesus quotes the commandment against murder, but then goes on to say that if anyone calls his brother fool, he deserves damnation. And when one honestly acknowledges their true state, that they are evil by nature, they must then repent of their sins and ask God forgiveness for the sake of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and ask the Holy Spirit to help them leave their life of sin.

Coming soon… On Baptism 4… (Where I address the conspiracy theory Eric from On the Wittenberg Trail pointed out in the comments to On Baptism 3 , but I want my facts in order, or at least more in order then what they are)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This week, in the life of Baby…

Baby will grow to be between 8 and 11 millimeters long, or the size of my pinky nail (I checked, see picture). There is further development between the male or female organs. Elbows and other joints will begin to form and bones begin to harden. Also, little toe rays start to appear. (This little piggy went to market…)

Also, we have spontaneous movement! (all from )

Now, when you think of all the development going on in Baby, Baby has a lot of stuff for being pinky nail size. Baby has a lot of internal organs including a pancreas and a functioning heart, little ear buds, little nasal buds, little eyes, little fingers, little toes… my gut instinct is to say, “Oooo, how precious!” And as I coo and think about all the neat and exciting things going on in the life of baby, I also think, “Wow! God has everything all planned out! Such complexity in such a small little being!” The beauty and majesty of God’s creation is manifested in fetal development. And to think, Baby can move, but I won’t even feel it until after the New Year.

My dad constantly quotes the verse, “The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord and the Earth is full of His Creation.” I think of how Mighty God cares enough to have a plan to develop Baby and of all the things He makes and the proper time for everything. Dad, as an amateur astronomer, spends a lot of time contemplating the Glory of God as seen in the Universe. But, next time, when I sing, “God of Wonders beyond our Galaxy” (yes, I know Pianomomsicle), or “I stand in Awe of You,” or “Holy, Holy, Holy,” or “Joyful, Joyful, we Adore Thee,” or “Beautiful Savior,” or other strong songs of adoration before God, I will be thinking of the small little person He is knitting inside of me, the delicate care it takes to plan such things and great detail in such a small baby.

Oh, and this past week, in the life of Baby, Baby’s parents have chosen a girl name and a boy name. And I’m madly in love with both, so at this point, I don’t want to find out. (Please don’t have hurt feelings, Mom, we’re not doing the baby girl name tradition this time.)

On Baptism 3a

I'm going to respond to the work Anonymous posted in the comment section of "On Baptism 3." But I have some fact checking to do, Misty is coming over tonight, and tomorrow I need to spend some good time with Josh. I may have some time very early tomorrow morning to do the fact checking, but probably the earliest you'll see "On Baptism 4" is Friday morning, and more likely this weekend.

On Baptism 3…

Wow, popular topic. Well, Anon requires a more lengthy response, as such, will wait Anon’s turn.

The Big Stink… Want to clarify something for me?
When you say, “Don't confuse man's interpretation of Scripture with God's commands. We are called to His presence through the Spirit, not the letter of the law. That's what Jesus' ministry was all about,” are you accusing Lutherans of adding works to salvation and calling baptism a work of man rather then what it is, a work of God, or are you taking everything Anon has said and stating that opinion is works based? And if it is I who has an improper interpretation of scripture, please explain further. I do not believe baptism is following “man made law,” rather I believe baptism is part of the Great Commission. “Make DISCIPLES of all nations BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, TEACHING them to obey.” I believe baptism is necessary for discipleship, as such is not a work of man or part of man’s interpretation of scripture.

It is through Grace which we enter. It is not through deeds. The planet is littered with churches who have interpreted the Bible as a roadmap for social justice. It's not. It is a manual for insight and a grasp of the Spirit by which we can grasp that salvation is a gift and not something one earns. If it is a gift for adults, why is it not a gift for small children or "diminished" people who would have no conscious grasp of a Spirit.”

I don’t think Anon or I have offered an argument that the Bible is a roadmap to social justice. I have argued this in the past, but have repented. I also agree that it is by Grace we have been saved, but as scripture says, this Grace and Faith are both gifts of God, and I can obtain neither through my own efforts. I have a problem with your statement on scripture as a manual for insight… I believe it is more then that. I believe Scripture is the very word of God, Holy and inerrant, as such requires more respect and reverence and awe then described. If I am misinterpreting your statement, please clarify.

Furthermore, I agree, baptism is a gift for small children, and now for Anon.

There is not one single place anywhere in the Bible recording the baptism of a child. Not one! When Philip was baptizing (Acts 8:12), it says, “they were baptized, both men and women.” There is no mention of children being baptized in this account. Children are simply not mature enough to comprehend baptism.

But are children capable of being disciples? Obviously a parent who obeys the word of God is teaching their children to obey, why is baptism denied small children when it is part of the Great Commission?

Anon continues by imposing comprehension of all aspects of the Bible in order for a person to be saved, such as a comprehension of end-time theology, symbolism of baptism, the gift of God’s Spirit, plus, the ability to make a commitment to follow Christ.

Scripture States that when I was a child, I thought like a child and acted like a child. When I became an adult, I put childish things behind. Certainly, this is true, however further in I Cor. 13, Paul talks about how we see an ill vision and later in Heaven we will fully understand all. If Anon is imposing complete understanding on people to be saved, then I am afraid the Apostle Paul isn’t saved.

Also, as Anon points out, the requirements of salvation include repentance and belief. OK I can’t object there, on surface, but Jesus didn’t include proper end of the world beliefs as a requirement for salvation. And the disciples didn’t fully understand what Jesus was talking about when Jesus talked about the Kingdom of Heaven and the end of the world. So, Jesus must not have considered such comprehension important.

Babies have nothing to repent of? Psalms 51 says they do. I actually think, and I have good argument that perhaps this is indeed the case, that it is probably better to have the child-like view of repentance, apologize and get on with life. My evidence is Jesus tells his disciples that they should have the faith of a child, and children accept their sins are forgiven. I agree, they do not comprehend the magnitude of their sin, the gravity of Hell, and such things, but isn’t even a little acknowledgement of wrong enough, since earlier Anon concludes that belief and repentance are necessary for salvation? Jesus didn’t impose a set amount of belief. I’m not going to.
I am not capable of seeing all of the symbolism in baptism. However, in the case of Peter and the Gentiles in Acts 10, scripture does not specify that comprehension of the symbolism of baptism was a requisite for the baptism of Gentiles.

I will agree scripture does not say, “Men, women, and infants” were baptized, however, scripture does not say comprehension was a mandate either.

Anon says, “Children are no more likely to endure the commitment involved in becoming a true follower of Jesus Christ than they are committed to marrying any boyfriend or girlfriend that they may have had in their young lives.”

I was 24 when I got married. I did not understand the commitment it would take to be married to my husband when he went off to war. In fact, my husband’s military commitment was three weeks away from being over when we said our vows. I didn’t know he’d re-enlist later. I didn’t know he would go off to Iraq and leave for 21 months. But God gave me the faithfulness and endurance for such a commitment.

Now, I agree, children and I would add most adults do not comprehend what they will have to endure for the sake of Christ, or at lease American children and adults do not. My guess is in China, Muslim countries, and other totalitarian states, kids know very well that belief leads to a violent death. My guess is things can and will get worse for American Christians, however, and at that time, we will know the true converts from those who are merely expressing warm fuzzies for Jesus.

Age 18 is the minimum age at which a person is capable of grasping what baptism means. Adults should not delay upon reaching repentance, but young people should delay, sometimes several years before taking the step of baptism.”

And here we go. Where, pray tell, in the Bible does the age of 18 mean a hill of beans? 18 is a man made law, which you are accusing me of, Anon. And isn’t this a double standard here. Adults should not delay… what if adults are not properly taught what baptism is, Anon? Do they have to do it over?

Young people need to know beyond any shadow of doubt that they have repented. Otherwise, they will lack the necessary confidence later that God has given them His Holy Spirit.” I am going to place words into your mouth, so please correct me if I’m wrong, Anon, and no disrespect is intended. Anon believes that we can choose to follow Jesus at an initial prayer of repentance, often called a sinner’s prayer. And the sincerity of intent behind that prayer is important. Do you REALLY REALLY with ALL your HEART and SOUL repent of your sins and intend on making Jesus Lord of your life?

I struggled with this most of my childhood. You see, I said the sinners prayer when I was 8-years-old. And every time I subsequently sinned, I believed that I didn’t really mean what I prayed. I was burdened, under this theology, that I wasn’t going to Heaven because my efforts at living a sanctified life, and I give you Rdr. Christopher and Kara , and also HG as those who can testify that I tried really hard to live a sanctified life, all had failed.

Not until I really started to understand how scripture is to be rightly interpreted, did I receive assurance of salvation. I do what I do not want to do and I do not do what I want to do. And any goodness that is within me is that which God has placed through Christ Jesus. Once I was free from my burdens, once I realized that I was going to sin, and when I do, all I had to do was repent and move on, then did Christian life in its fullest begin for me.

Anon, though I don’t think it is Anon’s intent, places a lot of uncertainty even upon adults. Was I really sincere that time I repented of this particular sin? And the answer is always filled with doubt.

Anon closes with: “The path that we will travel on the way to the kingdom of God will require us to know with absolute certainty that we have God’s Spirit in us, helping us in every time of need!” I believe this certainty comes with remembering my baptism, and I was baptized at the age of 14, was that too young, Anon? Anyway, the assurance comes through remembering my baptism and receiving absolution each Sunday in liturgy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Baptism 2…

I am a Lutheran, though not of Lutheran roots. In other words, my parents raised me in a pietist/revivalist denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America. The EFCA reflects a lot of what I think is wrong with Evangelicalism today, but my actual arguments against Evangelicalism these days have little to do with my upbringing. Rather, the EFCA reflects most of what I find wrong with Evangelicalism.

So, Anonymous’s arguments regarding the age of accountability and baptism reflect my upbringing, and the strong opinions of my extended family. The heart of Anonymous’s argument is this: what do you tell the parents of a child who died before they could understand sin and repent of it?

Anonymous would say, “Well, your child hasn’t reached the age of accountability so of course they are in Heaven.” This statement ignores two things: one, “I was a sinner from infancy, even from my mother’s womb;” two, “The wages of sin is death.”

My unborn child is a sinner, deserving of eternal damnation in Hell, just as I am a sinner, deserving eternal damnation in Hell. I repeat. My unborn child, with no experience of sexual immorality, disobedience, good, evil, God, Satan, obedience, lying, stealing, deserves eternal damnation as my child is a sinner.

Now, should my child die in my womb or as an infant before baptism can be administered and repentance can be taught, what do I cling to? I cling to the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, the realization that Christ died for sins once for ALL, and that somehow, God will work His Grace.

Further into the argument that children are not responsible for their sins until they reach the age of accountability is the discipline of loving parents. If a child lies or disobeys his parents or steals gum from the corner store, is it not the parents duty to punish their children? And if so, what right do parents have to punish their children if God would not punish a child?

You see, infant baptism is necessary. First, it provides the true picture of the condition of all of our souls, incapable of doing anything to earn God’s favor or our salvation. Second, it provides a picture of God’s love, such love that forgives sins, even the sins of a person who is completely incapable of verbalizing their repentance, even a sinner who is incapable of doing any good work. Third, it is the means by which God delivers His grace for the forgiveness of Sins.

I also have a problem with this, “Outward expression of an inward condition,” or as we used to say, “Something that we do when we really want to get serious about Jesus.” First, there is an error in Baptism being an act of man. Josh and I will not Baptize Baby, rather Pastor performs the rite and God acts through the rite. The statement sounds like Baptism is a choice or an act of free will. I do not know a single person who reads the Bible literally that cannot say with intellectual honesty, “Baptism is not necessary.”

Furthermore, we are either Christians or we are not. We do not spend our pre-baptism days trying Jesus on for size and if we like him then we get serious about him. No, that is false teaching indeed. You are either a called follower of Jesus or you are not. There is no “I’m not really serious about faith.”

Finally, the above statement leads to self-righteousness. “I was baptized therefore I am a serious follower of Jesus.” You see we cannot look to our good works to measure our sanctification or our level of commitment, because even in our best moments, sinful motivation is part of the picture.

Infant baptism, I believe, teach, and confess, is necessary, not just for my infant, but to teach me what true faith and true grace and true forgiveness really is.

For a round table discussion on the Lutheran teachings on Baptism, visit Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions , Rev. Paul McCain of the Cyberbrethren, and listen to a March 2005 roundtable on Issues Etc .

Monday, November 12, 2007

On Baptism…

This post has taken many forms in the past few weeks. And I’ve shared some of my struggles within with my Mom. The issue being infant baptism. You see, the child I am carrying will be the first, in likely 400 years, in my family to be baptized as an infant. My dad’s side of the family has a long and prideful tradition of pietism. (We persecuted Catholics in England and were kicked out accordingly because we engaged in treason while doing so.) So, I am developing my arguments and am subjecting my readers to said arguments to hone them.

I really like what The Albino Peacock had to say about Lutheran theology here . “Lutheran theology can be a hard concept to grasp because everywhere we go in this world and everything we do, we are required to do something in exchange for something else. We may even find ourselves hesitating to received good things from other people for fear that we will “owe” them something in return. Likewise, people want to feel like they have a responsibility in God’s plan of salvation for mankind. This is where Lutherans differ from all other Christians. Lutherans DO absolutely nothing to receive God’s salvation. We don’t have to make a “choice”, we don’t pray the “sinner’s prayer”, we don’t do penance, we don’t have to speak in tongues, we don’t have to fear purgatory or work to pray those we love out of purgatory. We don’t have to do anything in exchange for God’s gift of salvation. It is ours free and clear. We know how to receive. We receive in Baptism, we receive in Communion, we receive in Worship. And, we don’t do any of these things for God. But God does everything for us. He gives us His Holy Spirit, He gives us faith, He gives us forgiveness and we do not have to DO anything in order to receive it. Some may argue that Lutheran Baptism is a work toward righteousness. It is not. It is the pure and simple act of receiving alone. Likewise, Communion is purely and simply receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord for forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith alone.”
The misunderstanding is that Holy Baptism is a work of Josh and me or the work of Pastor. No. Baptism is a work of God administered by Pastor. What do we receive in Baptism? We receive the grace of God and the forgiveness of our sins.

I’m not going to go off an into the “Well, what if Baby doesn’t learn to repent of sins… rebels against God… rejects God?” Because when I do so, I become very uncharitable towards particular Evangelicals. The point is, I do not reject the pure gospel teaching, but it is not I that accepts the teaching, rather the Spirit that leads me in it. And if others reject the pure gospel teaching, then so be it. I have to remember it is not me they are condemning (OK, it is me they're rejecting as well), rather the pure gospel teaching.

So on this televangelist investigation…

In case you haven’t heard, six preach and fleece, or um, name it and claim it prosperity preachers are being investigated by Congress.

I am not a particular fan of the government interfering with how people practice religion. I believe it is the responsibility of denominations to hold their clergy in account. However, Americans seem to shun denominational accountability, so that’s not gonna happen.

Anyway, here’s my take. The preachers who are being investigated are more self-help people anyway, as such, they should just claim the status of motivational speaker and be honest. If they claim the mantle of “pastor,” or “preacher,” then they should align themselves with a doctrinal statement to better form accountability. Furthermore, I don’t really care what kind of a life style a particular person lives, however, if one is out to live a lavish lifestyle, then perhaps one should change their tax status from “non-profit” to “profit.” These fleecers, or um *teachers of the wor(l)d* need to understand that it does no good to gain the whole world of material goods but loose ones soul. Christians should shun those who refuse to hold themselves accountable to solid doctrine and those who refuse to behave themselves like non-profit ministers. If Christians refuse to hold their leaders to account, then we shouldn’t be surprised if the government feels it should. The authority we give up will be used against us one day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Baby testing…

Am I going to have ultra-sounds? Heck Yeah! I can’t wait! Of course, I think it’s really fascinating learning about how Baby is developing. And do I mind if the hospital screens for diseases after birth ? Um, not particularly but I’d like to be asked for my permission. See, this is really a formality. And my doctor already knows this, but this establishes whose kid it is anyway. And the kid is Josh and my kid, not the State of Minnesota’s kid, so I want to know who will get the information and how long they will keep it and for what purpose and everything.

Not to be rude or anything…

But I’d like to know the Body Mass Index of each of the anti-smoking crusaders . And how much they drink alcohol. And what, if any, recreational substances they snort, smoke, inject, or otherwise consume.

Oh, it's none of my business what these people do in the privacy of their own home? Ironic.

You know that commercial with the kids…

When they talk about what kind of candidate they would vote for?

Baby would vote for the candidate that is against wire tapping. Underwire tapping that is. I have little sympathy for Muslims in traditional garb who protest to removing their turbans.

And this weekend…

So, what did I do for my husband this Veteran’s Day, his first back since war?

Well, I asked him to bring me tea and crackers to bed. And he very kindly listened to me whine. And then I sent him to church without me because I was feeling pretty poorly.

And then I made him pizza for lunch, but he had to cut it because the smell bothered me.

And for dinner, he made me soup.

But I am thankful for his service. Having a reintegration baby is hard work, and he doesn’t mind.

We were going to go to Keegans for the SOS plate, but the only smell that was appealing to me on Saturday was waffles. And so that’s what I made Saturday night.

However, thanks very much to Josh, Dad, Peder, Fish, Sid, and all the other veterans out there. And thanks to God for making men and women like them, who sacrifice their time, talents, and are willing to sacrifice their blood.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This week, in the life of Baby…

Baby’s hand plates will start forming and Baby will grow to be between 7 and 9 mm long. Baby’s nose starts developing. Also, Baby will start to form their second set of kidneys this week.

Finally, Baby’s male or female members are beginning to form, but it will still be many weeks before the doctor will be able to tell, if Josh and I want to know before delivery. (from )

Recent technology has allowed us to monitor fetal development on a week by week basis. Reading web-sites and watching “In the Womb” provide detail my parents didn’t have. And, for the first time, scripture passages such as: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” actually mean something to me.

I had heard that even the most ardent pro-life woman doesn’t really understand her position until she is pregnant the first time. And I agree with that statement. I didn’t understand that life could form in me until God started forming life in me. And that changes everything.

When Baby begins to hear while in my womb, though Baby won’t understand what I am saying, it gives me a sense of responsibility to say “The Lord’s Prayer” and the responsive readings in church with gusto, and to sing with all my heart. It gives me also great pause to be careful not to sin with my mouth. I am comforted that as I receive Holy Communion that somehow, Baby also receives the presence of Jesus. It gives me grief that people would kill a baby when at the same stage as Baby, while I am excited about the development of Baby’s hands, and new kidneys, and little nose.

Baby is a real person with a real soul and I rejoice for Baby.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

And about “freedom...”

HT to King for the clip and also the link to Mrs. S’s column

This month, Mrs. S talks about freedom . In preparation for her column, she read 1984. Recently, bar and restaurant owners have given up their freedom to serve smokers for the sake of public health. This sets dangerous precedence to further interference on personal consumption. Should I be prevented from receiving the Blood of my Savior during Holy Communion because some women abuse alcohol and drugs and give birth to babies with defects? Should I be prevented from having dessert because I’ve had weight problems in the past? After baby is born, should I be prevented from consuming alcohol?

Now, if I wanted to skype one of my friends on the mission field, should the government eaves drop? My friends and I have nothing to hide, certainly, but what business is it of the government what I say to my friends? “Thought police” come in many forms… The Fairness Doctrine, Hate Crimes, and simple wiretapping without warrant or executing a warrant and putting off informing people about the warrant.

I saw this preview linked via SCSU Scholars for “The Lives of Others.” It repulses me how the East German Government would eavesdrop on people.

But, Liz, we’re not there yet. No, but we shouldn’t begin on the slippery slope. “Safety,” “public health,” or “for the children;” none of these are good reasons for further government spying. And I personally find it disingenuous that the Bush Administration would want the Patriot Act and shun boarder security. The way history dictates things work is: when we take away freedoms from others, they will eventually be taken from us.

The Weekend Five…

From The Friday Five

1. If you were on a game show and could phone a friend for help, who would your lifelines be for sports, arts & music, literature, history and geography, and science? Sports: Josh. Arts, music, and lit: Becky. History and Geography: Pastor. Science: Dad.

2. When you need someone with muscles to help you with a task, who’s the first one you call? Josh and Peder
3. When you need some creative help with ideas for a project, who’s the first person you call? Linda
4. When you have a moral dilemma and need advice, on whom do you rely most? My Mom. My moral dilemmas are always behavioral and she knows how I am inclined to sin.
5. When you need to know the best way to get somewhere, which of your directionally-gifted friends do you call upon first? First, I’d need to be able to describe where I am. I’m actually OK at reading a map (thanks Dad!), provided it is in my glove box and not in my trunk. No, when I’m really lost, it’s usually in an embarrassing enough situation that I’d probably not fess up to a friend.

Scarce resources…

On Tuesday, I’ll be voting on a property tax referendum for school. Every year, I hear from both sides on how schools use money. At a minimum, schools could probably allocate scares financial resources better and make things less administration heavy.

Barb the Evil Genius asks about another scarce resource, time. Barb home-schools and asks about “projects,” why home-schoolers sometimes like them more then institutional school families.

I believe the issue is allocation of the scarce resource of time. Is a “project” a substitute for a test or other homework? If not, what purpose does it serve? Parents must ask this question because parents spend a lot of time educating their children at home in supplement to the school day experience.

Institutional school parents have to teach their religious philosophy at home to combat secular humanism. They have to spend time with their students ensuring their students “get” their school work. They spend time reading and playing with their children. They spend time shuttling their children to supplemental classes such as sports or music lessons. Field trips are not as frequent as they were twenty years ago, so parents who wish their children to be exposed to zoos, orchestra, and museums must compensate as well. Extra homework and extra projects cut into these enriching activities.

Here is where home-schooling begins to appear attractive. A parent might argue, “My kid spends 45 minutes in math during school and an extra 45 minutes at home. This cuts into other things I’d like my kid to learn, so why don’t I teach my child math one on one, have control over the curriculum, and still get to do my supplemental activities.”

I’m advocating neither institutional education or home-schooling, rather just pointing out there are other scarce resources besides money to consider in a child’s education. The best use of projects during high-school was in my 11th grade social studies class. Projects were always a substitute to a test or regular homework, as such, did not cut into time spent on other classes.

My little crocheting dilemma….

So, I’ve been working on a baby afghan that Granny started. It’s really cute. It’s a row of dc in baby blue, a row of a dc dtrc pattern in aqua and pink, a row of baby blue dc, and a row of the dc dtrc pattern in baby rainbow. It is a super cute pattern and it was easy to pick up… and all the crafters say, “But…”

Granny didn’t have enough yarn to finish. Yup, in the three garbage bags of yarn she left, one would think she’d have an extra skein or two of each color, but no.

OK, so the baby blue and the aqua and pink are still available, but not the rainbow!

What to do, oh, what to do.

I’m thinking, and if a fellow crocheter thinks this is dumb, just let me know in the comments, is trying to match one color in the rainbow and then work equal number of rows on both the top and bottom so the rainbow rows are all in the middle.

It would be something like this…

New color
Aqua Pink
Aqua pink

And starting on the bottom going down:
Existing aqua pink
Existing blue
New color

My first expectant mom’s tips:

1. Yogi Tea Expectant Mom’s tea is MUCH better then plain chamomile. Actually, any tea with anise flavor is MUCH better then plain chamomile. (And, quite frankly, if Christians were to make such tea with Bible Verses, I’d be more inclined to purchase that, but for the sake of my poor tummy, we’re buying Hindu.)
2. When you are craving ice cream, you are really craving milk and instant breakfast. Seriously. It works, and has nutritional value.
3. HT to Kara: Nordstrom’s rocks .

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This week in the life of baby…

Baby will grow to be four to six millimeters long (double to triple in length), roughly 1/5th of an inch. Baby’s larynx and inner ear will start to develop as will upper and lower limbs. And there will be early stages of pancreas, stomach, and lung development!

(week defined as Thurs - Wed)