Posts tagged “Vocation

Vocation and Virtue

Posted on September 5th, 2014

Vocation and Virtue: What’s the Purpose of a School? For Immanuel Lutheran School’s Back to School night; adapted from a longer essay written Spring 2014. Introduction Our culture pressures us to parent in unhealthy ways. Last Spring, the Washington Post had a feature on the parenting culture that drives children to succeed to the detriment of other values. The Post profiled Wilma Bowers, leader of a movement “that seeks to upend the achievement-at-all costs intensive parent and school culture” in northern Virginia. “There’s such a status thing here: ‘I went [to] Georgetown. I want my kid to go to Georgetown or better.’ It’s such a rat race,” says Bowers.… “Nobody is taking a step back and asking, ‘Is going to Princeton going to make me…

Sermo Dei: Psalm 82

Posted on February 6th, 2014

After a long hiatus, tonight we return to our journey through the Psalter with a meditation on Psalm 82. “Let nothing be done without your consent, nor do anything yourself without God’s consent” (Polycarp 4:1 AF-E). Thus wrote Ignatius to Polycarp. As Bishop, nothing was to be done without his consent. But in turn, he was to do nothing without God’s consent. Ignatius was reminding Polycarp that he stands both as judge of the people and will himself be judged by God. The minister of God serves as a steward. The Small Catechism exhorts everyone to go to individual confession, and that when the pastor speaks the absolution to penitent individuals, it is the voice of God Himself. Kings, presidents, law enforcement, and other…

Suffering in your station

Posted on February 4th, 2014

Dr. Luther on suffering in our vocations: I ask where our suffering is to be found. I shall soon tell you: Run through all stations of life, from the lowest to the highest, and you will find what you are looking for. We are not to look for a cross, the devil and world will make one for us. Simply live as an earnest Christian, preacher, pastor, burgher, farmer, noble, lord, and fulfill your office faithfully and loyally. Let the devil worry where he can find a piece of wood out of which to make a cross for you, and the world where it can find a branch out of which to make a scourge for your hide. Quoted in Wingren, Luther on Vocation, pp29f

Vocation under the cross

Posted on February 3rd, 2014

To understand what is meant by the cross of vocation, we need only remember that vocation is ordained by God to benefit, not him who fulfills the vocation, but the neighbor who, standing alongside, bears his own cross for the sake of others. Under this cross are included even the most trivial of difficulties, such as: in marriage, the care of babes, which interferes with sleep and enjoyment; in government, unruly subjects and promoters of revolt; in the ministry, the whole resistance to reformation; in heavy labor, shabbiness, uncleanness, and the contempt of the proud. All of this is bracketed with the high and holy cross of Christ; but then that too was deep in humiliation when it was erected. Gustaf Wingren, Luther on Vocation,…

How do Lutherans use the Law?

Posted on December 10th, 2013

Several posts at Gottesdienst Online (“Are you an Antinomian?” and “Luther in the Antinomian Disputations”) have highlighted the problem among Lutherans in understanding and applying the Law. Jason Braaten notes, This is how we are to preach the law according to Luther: ” . . . so as to admonish to good. . . . by way of exhortation . . . .” The law is not just for the lawless, to terrify. It is to be preached to the pious so as to admonish to good. I agree with Jordan Cooper’s observation in “Characteristics of Lutheran Antinomianism” that there is an antinomian problem in American Lutheranism. I too have heard the kind of statements he has highlighted: The believer is not the new man-Christ…

The League of Faithful Masks

Posted on December 15th, 2009

We were privileged to have Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto speak at Immanuel last Sunday. He is the director of The League of Faithful Masks: Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life. The idea behind the phrase “faithful masks” comes from Luther’s terminology of God working through us in our various callings. I’m not sure of the citation, but he quoted Luther as saying, “If you are not God’s mask, you are the devil’s. There is no middle ground.” The principal purpose of the League is to attack “The ‘Me’ Culture,” which emphasizes personal desire uber alles. Dr. Siemon-Netto made the profound point that desire (concupiscence) is one of the two main elements of original sin. The “Me” culture thus glorifies precisely what is wrong with…

Cheerfulness and the Value of Repetition

Posted on October 18th, 2007

Every weekday afternoon our entire school prays the office of Vespers, and I use the Collect for the Week each day. So it’s sad that it took me until Wednesday of this week to finally understand one of the things being prayed for in the Collect for Trinity 19: Almighty and merciful God, of Your bountiful goodness keep from us all things that may hurt us that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish whatever You would have us do; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. What grabbed me was the word “cheerfully.” We have our callings (vocations), but God does not just give…