Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good News from the Roman Catholic Church

By Larry Beane

One of the overzealous changes of the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church since the 1960s was a really loose translation of the Mass into English. But finally, after nearly a half century, the language is being rolled back to a more accurate translation.

One example is the wretched translation of the response to the salutation "The Lord be with you" (which since the 1960s has been rendered "and also with you") is being changed to the more literal "and with your spirit" - which is not just more faithful to the Latin, but also reflects the reality that this response is not just "hey, how ya doin'?" but is rather a recognition and affirmation that the priest is speaking by the authority of the Holy Spirit in his office.

There are always unintended consequences when things are dumbed down.

All these decades later, the Roman Catholic Church, largely owing to Pope Benedict's somewhat traditionalist-friendly leadership, is rolling back the dumbing down. Maybe we could say that their liturgy is being "smartened up." At very least, churchly and theological language is coming back into use.

This is important to Lutherans for the simple reason that, as the old saying goes, when the pope catches a cold, the Lutherans sneeze. At least since the 1980s, we have also accepted the 1960s Roman Catholic paraphrases of much of our Mass (such as LSB Divine Service 1 and 2's translation of the Gloria in Excelsis and the Sanctus), as well as the above-mentioned pastoral greeting and response: "The Lord be with you, and also with you."

The LCMS Commission on Worship had the opportunity to roll back "and also with you" across the board in the LSB, but inexplicably chose to retain what is, in essence, becoming a sectarian greeting in addition to being inaccurate (not to mention that there are three possible responses in LSB).

But the good news is that LSB (which I personally like very much overall) will not be the last word on English language Lutheran hymnals. In a couple decades or so, there will be another opportunity to fix some of these 1960s lapses in judgment.

Of course, there will also be another opportunity to royally screw it up. I guess that's the story of Church History in a nutshell.

Meanwhile, kudos to the Roman Church for this improvement, and hopefully, this particular papal sneeze of a more accurate translation of the ancient liturgy will find English-speaking Lutherans reaching for the Kleenex...

Ravenna Rundown

Many thanks to all the participants at the Gottesdienst West conference out in Ravenna, NE a couple of weeks ago - especially to our hosts, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fr. Micah Gaunt, and Mrs. Gaunt for her super excellent cinnamon rolls.

This was especially enjoyable for me as I got to catch up with some friends from my Seward days and even with a couple of dear parishioners from my home church.

Considering that it was the middle of June, on a Friday, in sparsely populated central Nebraska we were very happy with the response: we had 13 pre-register - and maybe we even tempted a few to carpool out to Kewanee in the fall for Gottesdienst Central with Rev. Dr. David Scaer.

You can read the paper I delivered here. This is an attempt to take the doctrine of election as the starting point in missions and worship - and a critique of what I term the Functional Arminianism of much of modern Lutheran thinking on the topic.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gottesdienst Shamelessly Asks for Donations

We never were very big on fund raising, which is probably why we sometimes suddenly notice when the funds run low.

Well, they're running pretty low, folks.

So if you have a little extra, you might, er, consider sending some our way?

Or if you have a lot, or know someone who does, that would be even better.

Gottesdienst has been seeking to promote the Christian faith through the historic liturgy since 1992. Your gift helps us to continue to do this. We couldn’t have gotten this far without the help of generous donors in the past, and we need to rely on your generosity just as much now as we ever have. As many of you have depended on us for eighteen years to provide you with the very best in material promoting dignified, evangelical liturgy and worship, we must also depend on you to help us again, as you are able, to keep the mission moving.

Just click here to donate online. Or you could send us a check:

c/o St. Paul's Lutheran Church
109 South Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 614433

NOTE: Donors giving $500 or more receive a lifetime print subscription.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Still Time To Register: Gottesdienst West

One Day Gottesdienst Conference

Liturgy as the Beacon for God's Elect

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Ravenna, NE

To register, email Fr. Micah Gaunt: blcpastor AT charterinternet.com

Just a few short weeks until the one-day conference and liturgical workshop in Ravenna, NE. The morning session will be a paper and discussion, the afternoon will be a detailed look at and how-to session on the ceremonies of a traditional Lutheran Divine Service.

It is a proverbial truth that the seminaries (including field work assignments and vicarage) do not, on the whole, do a good job of preparing pastors to conduct the Divine Service. That is, they spend very little time on the actual rubrics either eschewing them as “mere chancel prancing” or taking it for granted that seminarists will pick it up on vicarage. This leads to a common complaint (and not only among the newly ordained): I want to conduct a reverent, traditional Lutheran Divine Service, but I don't know even know where to look. . .

Participants in the conference will receive a print out of the Common Service with the traditional rubrics noted in the margins (an ersatz altar book with rubrics) as well as a sneak peek at Daily Divine Service Book: A Lutheran Daily Missal (publication by early 2011, we hope!).

The morning's paper will ask what the doctrine of election has to do with worship and mission – and deconstruct the functional Arminianism that seems to be dominant in today's North American Lutheranism. Here's a teaser trailer and the full schedule:

We are the living among the dying. We are those who know the cure to the world's ailment of sin. So it is up to us spread the message of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, what judgment will come upon us if we refuse! Just think of how many will go down to hell this day. I wonder how many of them could have been saved if we had just done a little more. How many would be entering the pearly gates if each of our members had just told one more person about Jesus? How many could we save if we were willing to give up our sacred cows and make Sunday worship speak to the outsider a little more rather than just to the insider? How many people have needlessly been turned off of the Gospel because of stodgy Lutheran hymns and cushionless pews? If the lost shall be saved, then we must repent, rethink, and reform what worship in our midst has been. We must open the doors, both physically and metaphorically, so that the seeking unbeliever will be drawn in and hear the Gospel and perhaps be saved.

Sound familiar? You've heard one version or another of that speech from Synod and district officials from time immemorial. No doubt you've heard that speech and felt a twinge of guilt: am I doing enough for the lost? On the other hand, if you've bothered to come here on a Friday in June, when sensible pastors are fishing, you have probably also not quite been comfortable with that speech. Is the liturgy really an impediment to missions? Will a praise band really save more people? Something just seems off with this line of reasoning. On the one hand, doesn't God tell us to go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations? “Woe to me if I do not preach” and all that. And surely we've got to be intelligible so that others can understand us. “All things to all men that I might save some” - right?

Today I'm going to try to untangle those questions, clear up the modern Lutheran confusion about worship and missions, and try to built an authentically Lutheran theology and practice of worship and mission based on the central doctrine of the Scriptures: salvation by grace alone, also known as the doctrine of election.

8:30 Matins

9:00 registration, coffee and rolls.

9:15 First Presentation: The Liturgy as Beacon for God's Elect

10:30 Break & discussion

11:30 Lunch

12:15 Walk through the rubrics

1:30 Break

2:00 Divine Service

3:00 Beer


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Re: KFUO-FM Sold!

Editor's Note: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod recently sold Classic-99, an award winning classical music station in St. Louis, for $26 million dollars. The Board of Directors was desirous that it be sold not just to anybody - they wanted it to go to Baptist sectarians: Albert Pujols (Pooh-holes) and Kurt Warner helped to finance what will soon be a Christian, i.e., Anabaptist and Arminian, rock station (Seriously: I am not making up). Few know that the CSL Board of Regents also recently made a sale. . .

Luther Tower Sold to Rockingest Bidder
Juanita Sunday
(Gottesdienst Press)

(St. Louis) Concordia Seminary said Tuesday that it plans to sell its 49-bell carillon and the tower which houses it to the Christian hard rock band The Letter Black.

The seminary Board of Regents approved the sale for an undisclosed amount. In a statement, the seminary said that decreasing profits from the June carillon recital series which have been held on campus for an undisclosed number of years warranted the sale.

The Letter Black plans to switch the carillon recital series to hard Christian rock. They also hope to use the tower as a venue for photo shoots of themselves looking pained and ironic. In a statement, the band said, "Carillons are way beat. Concordia Seminary has finally figured out where the Christians are." The Letter Black additionally intends to record an album which pays tribute to Concordia Seminary's rich heritage by remixing timeless hymns of the faith such as "It Is Well With My Soul" and "This Is My Father's World" with some fresh carillon beats counterbalancing the band's signature snarl.

"Nay, we are but men: Rock!"

Adolf Hohenhaugehahnheidenhardezollern, a retired music professor who has not missed a carillon concert since 1973, expressed resignation to the sale. "Reckon those folks know what they're doing," he shrugged, folding up a lawn chair with the seat and back made of woven green nylon straps, only slightly frayed. Asked if he would continue attending the June concert series, Hohenheidenhardehahnhaugezollern said thoughtfully, "Is American Idol on Tuesday nights? I've been thinking about getting into that."

The carillon bells are dedicated to the memory of all Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastors.