Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Update 1

First, I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and their prayers. I don't know what people do who don't believe God answers prayers, but I don't want to find out for myself.

I am safely entrenched in the house of a fellow pastor and his family in the Baton Rouge area. Another pastor from the New Orleans area and his family may be joining us tomorrow. God is generous, and I thank Him for the generosity of the people He has brought into my life.

That includes my vicarage bishop and his wife in Missouri, who will be hosting Faith and the kids starting tomorrow. Faith stopped somewhere in Arkansas tonight, and I certainly hope she's been sleeping for a long time by now. They'll finish the journey tomorrow, and I can't think of a better place for her and the kids to be than the place where I was taken care of for a year . . . except maybe my parents' place, but that would have been an even longer trip.

The storm still looks like it's going to hit somewhere around New Orleans, Houma, Morgan City. If it's going to hit there, it could at least speed up a lot so it goes through quickly. A slow storm makes things even worse.

I'll keep updating from time to time, as long as we don't lose Internet here. In the meantime, be safe, and keep praying!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yes, it is hurricane season here on the Gulf coast again, and once again, nature is poised to strike. Gustav--currently "only" a tropical storm--is just past Haiti, and it looks at the moment like it's poised to strike Jamaica head on. The path of the storm is uncertain, and the projection cone is huge. With all the uncertainty, my wife is packing for a possible evacuation to Missouri, where my vicarage Bishop and his wife are waiting with open arms to welcome my wife and children.

If they go, I probably won't be joining them. I am the manager of a large public facility, and chances are good that the community center would be used as a staging ground for local relief/recovery efforts. I'd need to be close by in case our facility is needed. We are not a shelter--we are below flood level, so we can't be a hurricane shelter--but we have a large gymnasium and a banquet/meeting room that might be utilized after the storm. As I said, I am the manager. The facility is my responsibility, and I have a job to do. I may flee as far as Baton Rouge if it appears the storm is headed straight for the Morgan City/Amelia area, but that's about as far as I can go.

This also, strangely enough, puts me in position to be of service to area congregations. I've already told some of the area pastors that, should they and their congregation members need to flee the area, they can give out my cell phone number, and I'd help to coordinate communications so that we don't "lose" people the way we did after Katrina. I moved down here not long after Katrina, and I've been blessed to be a pulpit supply pastor for congregations who are still looking for members who disappeared after the storm.

I don't write any of this to boast. I'm doing what the Lord has called me to do as a pastor, a father and a worker. If I do it faithfully, then to God be the glory. Instead, I write this to make two requests of you. First off, I ask for your prayers--for myself, for my family, for the people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf coast, and for those who have already been hit by Gustav or will be hit in the course of the storm. This area, and the greater New Orleans area in particular, is still recovering from Katrina, and we've got a long way to go. And second, if you know people from the Gulf coast who may be fleeing and you have some place available, please open your homes to them. If the storm comes this way, the need will be great, and hotel rooms are already booked for hundreds of miles.

God bless you as you serve in your vocations as citizens and Christians!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Daughter the Theologian

The longer I practice my vocation as father, the more I realize that the teaching of some bodies of an age of accountability is complete and utter nonsense. Let me give you an example. Tonight I was trying to put the Terrible Toddler Twins (tm) to sleep. For some reason it took more milk than usual to put them out, so I had to warm up some more. Since Michael will scream and cry if we leave him in the room without us at night, I had to carry him with me. That left Molly alone in the room. While I was making the milk--no cow or cud jokes, please--Molly hid the remote. Now, she knows that she's not supposed to do that. How do I know she knows? She said to me, "Daddy, where's the 'mote?" I reached to where I'd left it, and it wasn't there. I said, "I don't know, Molly. Where's the remote?" She looked me straight in the eye and said, "I don't know, Daddy." And then she hid. (As in, "We realized we were naked, so we hid.")

You can't tell me that Molly didn't know it was wrong to hide the remote. And you can't tell me that she wasn't covering up something she knew was wrong by first playing ingenuousness and then by lying to me about it. She's not yet three, but she knows.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. The Word should be enough; but if it's not, just ask my daughter. She knows.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pre-Marital Counseling for Cohabitation

My pastor--the pastor of the church I attend down here when I'm not filling in elsewhere--brought up the topic today of cohabitation when I stopped by his study to head to lunch with him. Every pastor has to deal with that in our day and age, and it's not often you see an answer that is both practical and God-pleasing. What do you do about couples who are coming to church to get married when they've been living together already? Some of them are coming to the altar with their children.

It's not often that a couple comes to you in a state of cohabitation and can honestly say, "No, we haven't had sex." That's the extremely rare exception, not the rule. So they're already living together and engaging in the act of procreation. Is it enough that they want to get married and rectify the situation?

No. It's a good step, but it's not the most important thing. If all you want to do is make official what you've already been doing, you can go to a justice of the peace for that . . . or find the local "marrying/burying pastor" who will do any official act for a bit of green in the pocket. For a God-pleasing resolution to the situation, first there must also be an admission that what has gone before is sin. It doesn't have to be rubbed in their faces, but they need to acknowledge before God and each other that they have sinned by their actions and inactions. Pre-marital counseling is a wonderful teaching moment. It's a wonderful thing to be able to tell a couple, "You have confessed your sin. Thanks be to God, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. It will be my joy to perform your wedding ceremony." That way, confession and absolution is at the heart of their marriage. When you can say without sarcasm to your husband or wife, "I was wrong; please forgive me," your marriage should be in great shape.

Thanks, Rich. It's great being able to talk shop with a brother.

Monday, August 04, 2008

An Unexpected Honor

I was informed on Friday that this blog, and specifically the "Fatherhood" post, was chosen by Issues, Etc., as one of its Blogs of the Week! Jeff even read the post on the air!

Issues, Etc. is a radio program that used to be on the LCMS radio station until the program became too Lutheran for our current leadership. Now they are an independent radio program, and they're no longer censored by those who don't want them to speak the truth. If you're at all interested in learning what it is to be truly Lutheran--and thus, truly Christian--listen to these guys. The above link at "Issues, Etc." takes you to their "On Demand" page, and you can also subscribe to their podcasts on iTunes. Take the time to listen. It's worth it!