Thursday, October 19, 2006

No joke, no satire, no sarcasm

Yesterday, I spent two hours pouring over the Scripture references, checking the cross-referenced passages, reading and re-reading the comments, and trying to make sense of “What’s Wrong with Ablaze! – part 6.” None of what follows will make any sense if Frank’s post and posted comments (mine included) are not read first. I am posting a follow-up comment here on my own blog, rather than on Frank’s, as my reply is lengthy, and I do not want to hijack his intent to explain his concerns over Ablaze! by his shedding the light of Scripture and the Confessions on it.

Dear Rev. McCain,

I wasn’t kidding when I said it took me a great deal of courage to write you in the first place. This is no false praise or toadyism. I really DO have a great deal of respect for you. After your return from your summer break, you questioned the pros and cons of blogging. I’m glad you stuck with it, because your posts at Cyberbrethren have been a valuable part of what I consider my training in the Confessions. Like it or not, to many of us you ARE an imposing (and I mean that in its most positive construction) figure in the LCMS, CPH, and the blogosphere. I was truly hoping you would shed some additional light on this post and comments.

Though it was a harsh blow, your chastisement of my having no integrity or courtesy was not wholly unexpected, as I’ve read the same chastisement given to other blogs/bloggers who have attempted to contact you anonymously. I do respect your personal policy of not responding; that is why I have never posted a comment at your site. But since you’ve recently communicated with an anonymous aardvark, an anonymous dead theologian, and most immediately, the anonymous comment-writer known as “A. Blaise” in this post, I thought you might also grant exception to an anonymous mouse. I obviously misread your cues; the fault is mine. I believe I have also misread the dynamics of the comments posted before mine. In retrospect, they appear to be a private (though posted publicly) discussion between you, Frank, and “A. Blaise”. I apologize for butting in and furthermore apologize for injecting the question of your believing Frank’s comments. Whether you do or not is between you and Frank, and my input was neither necessary nor helpful. Please forgive me. As for my own comment, I ask you to re-read it, picturing in your mind’s eye someone who is eagerly hopeful of knowledge, not someone full of haughty disrespect. I have re-read it numerous times, and can see how easy it would be to picture my “voice” as belligerent. Please know this was never, never the case.

Rev. McCain, I have shed more tears over the LCMS than I ever thought my body was capable of producing. Over the last several years, my contending for the sound doctrine of the Lutheran Confessions has reaped personal attack and/or betrayal by two boards of elders, a pastor, a congregation, a circuit counselor, a reconciler, and two district presidents. I try not to feel overly sorry for myself at this. Through the pain, God has matured my faith a great deal, and for that I give Him thanks and praise. Many in the synod have suffered worse than I, yourself included, and Jesus suffered far, far worse -- and that for my transgressions. So, like yet another anonymous blogger, I, too, trust when dark my road.

I know there is no way you could have known any of my personal background as my blog entries are usually of a more frivolous nature, and I am, after all, anonymous. I understand that knowing a bit of it now may make no difference whatsoever in your no-anonymity policy, and since I am remaining anonymous, I have no expectations that you will take me any more seriously now than you did at Putting Out the Fire, nor do I expect any response. Truth be told, I actually fear that you will respond, and only beg you not to hit me again, remembering that behind every anonymous blogger lies a flesh and blood person, and some of them already quite bloodied and scarred.

Dear “A. Blaise,”

If this is your real name, I apologize for putting it in quotes. As the home of Luther N. and Justin Stauld Pastor, I thought A. Blaise was just a clever take on Ablaze!.

Dear Readers,

I am now approaching 32 hours without sleep, the bulk of it spent in thinking about and working on these posts and this reply. Even now, I am concerned that I may be perceived as some self-styled martyr, tooting my own horn like an obnoxious, twelve-chorus, I-I-I praise ditty, but frankly, I’m too weary in body and especially spirit to invest any more time in it, and it's still another ten days before I taste the comfort of our Savior’s Body and Blood. My pastor has suggested my cruising the internet (reading blogs and researching doctrine) is, at least for now, constantly renewing the pain of my battle scars, and he has prescribed rest. It obviously is not helping my insomnia and depression so I guess he’s right. Therefore, I’m going back into another posting-hibernation, maybe until spring, maybe permanently.

Lastly, Dear Frank,

Thank you so much for everything. I look forward to your next fine, timely, step-by-step critique of Ablaze! They’ve been of great assistance in yet another defense-of-doctrine situation I’ve found myself in. I hope you will continue them.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Separation of Church and State?

Not out here in rural America. Sometimes we can get away with things our city cousins can’t. For instance, the school districts in my part of the prairie plainly state that the children have the Monday after Easter off as “Easter Monday,” a decided nod toward Christianity. But a couple of Wednesdays ago, I was rather surprised to see that one of our male confirmands had come to class dressed in a skirt. He told us it had been “dress as the opposite gender day” at school. My initial thought was “Oh, sure!! Let’s just teach the boys that aberrant behavior is fun and normal.” I think one of the two girls present summed it up nicely. “I hope I never have to see THAT again.”

However, coming home from Divine Service that Sunday, I realized that my ire was unfounded. I now think this particular school district had actually gone out of their way to prepare young Lutheran men for that special day of the year when it's "sing as the opposite gender day." Yes, good ol’ LWML Sunday. I know nothing warms my husband’s heart more than singing Lutheran Women One and All as the congregational closing hymn. What a grand way to celebrate all those “Women in Mission.”

But wait!! Weren’t we supposed to be celebrating Christ in mission through his Word and Sacraments? Hold the phone; I’ll check.

No, nope, my mistake. Never mind; I was wrong. A quick look at the other hymn we sang, Serve the Lord with Gladness, says in the third verse: “As we build His kingdom, angels too rejoice.” Well, there you have it: “We build; angels rejoice.” How embarrassing! I must have gotten confused because when we sang verse ten of I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table, it says the angels rejoice over Christ’s Holy meal. Silly me.

Oh, well. I guess it’s just part of the charm of the Lutheran Church of Total Chaos. In fact, taking a page from our young friend’s playbook, next year my husband plans to wear a skirt for LWML Sunday. Purple, of course.