Monday, November 29, 2010

Daily Divine Service Book Goes on Sale

UPDATE: Here is a link to a site that will list current rebate codes from Lulu.


Daily Divine Service Book: A Lutheran Daily Missal

Edited by H. R. Curtis

At last – an English language Lutheran daily missal that includes complete rubrics for the celebration of a reverent Divine Service and propers for every day of the year.

Daily Divine Service Book is available for purchase in hardcover and paperback editions and will be on sale through Christmas.

Paperback Edition (6x9 | 728pp.) $30 $27 until Christmas

Hardback Edition (6x9 | 728pp.) $40 $36 until Christmas

Propers for Divine Service are provided for all Sundays, Major Festivals, Ember Days, weekdays in Lent, special Holy Week services and Triduum, votive Divine Services for the days of the week and other occasions, and all the saints listed in both Loehe's calendar and LSB. While a saint or other observance is appointed for each day of the year, many of the minor saints share “common” propers; major saints have a complete set of propers. All told, Daily Divine Service Book contains 215 Divine Services with complete propers and another 43 saints' days that use some common propers and some especially for the given saint. The remainder of the minor saints use common propers.

Prayers for the Celebrant at the Altar (a selection of evangelical Secrets, Communions, Offertories, and Post-Communions) and the traditional Lutheran Hymns of the Day for Sundays and Feasts are included in appendices, as well.

And that's just the propers – the ordinary of the Common Service is accompanied by traditional, useful, and clear rubrics for the celebration of a Lutheran Divine Service. These are largely taken from A. C. Piepkorn's The Conduct of the Service.

From the Preface

At no time is [the lack of a Lutheran daily missal] more frustrating for Pastors than during the shut-in communion call. Shall I lug my altar book and lectionary along with me? Can I figure a method of marking my Bible so that I can find my way to the Introit and Gospel reading? But then what about the Collect?

Daily Divine Service Book grew out of such struggles in my own ministry. It is a daily book due to another frustration I encountered with the lectionaries and altar books available to Lutherans: the paucity of propers available for the sanctoral calendar. Should a Pastor wish to observe the day of St. Augustine, for example, at a midweek Divine Service – what propers would he use? Though Augustine is a favored saint among Lutherans and appears in many of the Lutheran sanctoral calendars, one is hard pressed to find actual propers for a Divine Service. In this volume you will find propers not only for Sundays and festivals, but for everyday of the year. . . .

This book will not replace the hymnal, agenda, altar book, and lectionary your parish uses. Rather, it is meant to be used alongside your current collection of worship resources. Furthermore, Daily Divine Service Book is not tied to any one Lutheran synod or hymnal. You may use this volume alongside TLH, CW, LW, LBW, or LSB and their respective altar books, agenda, and lectionaries to good effect. You may indeed find it more convenient to use Daily Divine Service Book during the actual service – and will almost certainly begin taking this book, and this book alone, with you on your shut-in communion visits.


PS: Many, many thanks to the field testers around the country and indeed the world. This first edition is much improved due to your diligent work!

The More Things Change. . .

The catholicity of the Church that transcends the sad divisions amongst all the churches would seem to also include our liturgical problems. Here is a very interesting discussion of a Roman Catholic cardinal's sharp critique of the new revision of the Milan (Ambrosian Rite) lectionary and calendar. Cardinal Biffi sounds like an interesting guy; the sort you'd like to have a glass of Madeira with. Maybe Fr. Fritz can have him out for Oktoberfest next year. . .

HT: Prof. William Tighe


Friday, November 19, 2010

The LCMS and Women's "Ordination"

By Larry Beane

One of the great things the LCMS has been doing over the last several years is forging international contact, and in some cases, agreements, with confessional Lutheran churches around the world.  Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne has been on the cutting edge in fostering struggling Lutherans the world over with the provision of theological education, as in the heroic and ambitious Russian Project (see "For the Life of the World," Dec 1997 article on page 10) led by Rev. Dr. Tim Quill.  In fact, we're finally seeing what appears to be the blossom of full altar and pulpit fellowship with the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church, as we have now declared doctrinal agreement with that church after many years of talks, often peppered with seemingly ridiculous bureaucratic dithering on the part of the previous LCMS leadership.

Those days appear to be over, and thankfully so!

When it comes to supporting churches around the world, the LCMS brings great strengths to the table: sound theological education, a rigorous confessional reputation, and money.  It is a great boon to be recognized and nurtured by the LCMS.  And as a result, we Americans are able to help traditional and confessional Lutheranism to spread and thrive around the world.  And as is always the case, our brothers and sisters the world over provide us with shining examples of faithfulness in distress, and courage under fire, that in turn serve to inspire and support the evangelical and catholic faith in other places as well.

One of the things we should have learned from all of these international contacts is just how dangerous and evil women's "ordination" is.  It is not simply an aberration, a speedbump to unity, bad practice, or something to be tolerated.  Rather, it is a Satanic cancer that has infected the Body of Christ and, as former Church of Sweden "pastor" Ulla Hindbeck argues, something that will "lead people directly to condemnation."

The current angst and uproar over the approval of homosexuality in many worldwide Lutheran bodies is traceable to the movement to "ordain" women.  Scandinavian Lutherans led the way in the late 1940s, with Sweden beginning to "ordain" its first women in 1960.  The mockery of traditional vocations regarding human sexuality went so far as explicit and blasphemous pornography depicting Jesus and the disciples as homosexuals being displayed in the Swedish Cathedral at Uppsala with the blessing of Archbishop K.G. Hammar - only 38 years after the first female "ordinations."

In every country where confessional Lutheranism has been persecuted from within, women's "ordination" is not only a common practice, but is the touchstone and the fountainhead.  For the hierarchy of the Church of Sweden, women's "ordination" is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls.  Candidates for holy ministry must take communion from the hand of a priestess in order to prove fealty.  Since the repeal of the "conscience clause" in 1982, there have been restrictions against ordination and against pastoral promotion for opponents of women's "ordination."  The glass ceiling in such feminist-dominated church bodies applies only to male ministers who still believe in Holy Scripture.

The Scandinavian glass ceiling was at last broken in 2005, when Kenya's archbishop Walter Obare (Sabre of Boldness 2006) boldly consecrated Arne Olsson to be a Mission Province bishop for the persecuted faithful in captivity within the apostate Church of Sweden. Bishop Obare's support of Biblical Christianity in Sweden initiated a firestorm of controversy including this courageous exchange with the aforementioned Archbishop Hammar a year before Bishop Olsson's consecration.  Archbishop Obare's resistance has had felicitous results for the faith.  One of the consequences is that Finland likewise now has a Mission Province bishop and a route to priestly ordination for faithful candidates for ministry (for the first time in a decade) in defiance of a Mother Church that has come to resemble an ecclesiastically nightmarish version of an abusive "Mommie Dearest."

Even though the LCMS doesn't "ordain" women, there is a toleration for those who accept it, or even agitate for it.  And even among those who believe W"O" is wrong, there are many who accept its validity to some degree or another.  I wonder how many pastors and laypeople in the LCMS realize just how evil this deviant theology - which veers from both Scripture and ancient catholic tradition - truly is.

This is one reason I had written this objection two years ago to LCMS ties to the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia.  Such arrangements are confusing, especially to young church workers, who are put into a situation that appears to be endorsement of female clerics.  One person read my blog and confessed to me that she had spent a year in Slovakia as a young "missionary" - sent by the LCMS - and that she took "communion" from a female "minister" the entire time, never having been informed that this was wrong.

This should not be.

I am greatly concerned that even within the conservative LCMS, there may be an underlying agenda to "normalize" the abomination of women "pastors" in Christian churches - or at very least, encourage us to see it as a minor evil.  And I am also concerned that such an agenda may take advantage of the goodwill of genuinely confessional pastors and faithful synodical officials when it comes to cooperation with sects that endorse the Satanic practice of female "ordination."

I'm concerned that we might be playing with fire here.

It is one reason I'm not personally comfortable with any cooperation with the ELCA - not even in matters like malaria prevention.  For no cause - no matter how genuine and noble - is worth the spiritual harm of exposing faithful LCMS pastors and laypeople to the specter of women wearing clerical collars and answering to "pastor."  We still have such cooperation in joint LCMS-ELCA schools, chaplaincy, the aforementioned malaria project, and Thrivent.  Membership in the latter includes a subscription to a magazine that shamelessly uses "Pastor" and "Rev." before the names of women and will show pictures of collared women without any hint that this is a diabolical ruse to confuse the faithful and to mock God's Word and the Incarnate One.

This is why I am concerned with the recent announcement of the LCMS signing a working agreement with the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession, which claims to ordain women.  This is not altar and pulpit fellowship, but rather a call for the "two churches to have regular contact between the church leadership, the holding of theological lectures and convocations, and invitations to each other's theological presentations" as well as "cooperation in diakonal work."

I am really concerned about unintended consequences here.  How will this be interpreted?

Now, it may well be that the Silesian practice of W"O" is actually being mothballed, and it is going to take time to back out of it.  I hope this is the case.  This happened with the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, with which the LCMS shares fellowship, and it was a rare example of putting the toothpaste of female "ordination" back into the tube.  While there are "pastors" emeriti (emeritae?) in Latvia who lack the biological necessities for ministry, they have all been removed from any active service in the church.  The Latvian archbishop and leadership is strongly biblical and confessional, and they did overcome the burden of W"O" imposed on them in their days as a Soviet Socialist Republic.

Perhaps this is the case with Silesia.  I would feel a lot more comfortable if our own church leadership would clarify this matter.  I am in no position to speak for the many heroic Lutherans around the world who are struggling to remain faithful and who are looking to the LCMS for leadership and support, but I am reasonably certain that the last thing they would want to see is an LCMS even appearing to "go wobbly" in the face of the feminist juggernaut of western culture.

I am certainly not arguing that our current administration is in any way sympathetic to women's "ordination."  Nothing could be more clear than our synodical leadership's thoughtful and articulate opposition.  My question is one of policy.  I am just wondering out loud if this is the right thing to do.  Perhaps it is, and I hope it is!  I would love to be able to support this arrangement, but for now, I'm afraid the jury is out.

We live in a messy, fallen world.  Perhaps such "working agreements" are the best way to move forward and to bolster our more conservative brothers and sisters.  But there is also the real possibility that this only serves to give less than a clear confession to the world regarding something as foundational as the office of the holy ministry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Give Thanks with a Gift to the Finns

Think of all the troubles you have in the parish - that guy on the board who has never liked you; that gal who digs in her heels every time you talk about God's plan for a male ministerium; the folks who threw a loud fit in the narthex when you wouldn't commune them; add your own here ___________.

Now imagine that on top of all that, you could be taken to criminal or civil court for your stance on some of these issues and have your livelihood drained away from you through the soft tyranny of legal fees. That is what our brothers in Finland are dealing with right now as we noted in this space recently.

Thanksgiving and Advent are coming up - maybe you have not yet decided where to give part of your annual thank offering or alms. Here's a suggestion: donate to the Finn's "fighting fund" so that faithful pastors can pay their legal fees in fighting for Biblical Christianity.

I wish I could just post a PayPal button - but I'm afraid it's a little more complicated than that. You will have to ask your bank to make a wire transfer. If you have online banking, you might be able to use your bill pay option - but call your bank first. The information is below in a letter from Rev. Dr. Timo Laato, which he gave me permission to post here. - +HRC

Dear Rev. Curtis,

I have discussed with the representative of our lawyer. It would be possible to pay into our bank account using the official and international bank codes.

The name of our "fighting fund" is:
Siionin Onni ry
The international bank account is:
IBAN FI79 5285 0820 0647 44
The international bank code (= the name of the bank)

I think, this would work well. The money will reach us. I will in the future give you a document how we have used the money in our fight for the Lutheran practice.

Indeed, it is very encouraging that you have taken contact with us. I could not imagine that an "unknown" person from America would know something about us. We are very grateful for your support.

Pax tecum.



An Impious Poem

My search continues for a few nice Adventish poems to jump start your sermon preparations for a new Church year. One of the major themes of Advent is, of course, the Return of our Lord for Judgment and the Day of Resurrection. While searching for a poem on this topic I came across this impious poem of Jonathan Swift.

As you will see, the poem rests on several commonplaces of the Enlightenment attack on Christianity. One of my favorite short stories from one of my favorite authors touches on similar points: The Lightening-Rod Man by Herman Melville. These are not only insightful attacks on the pride of clergymen (especially Melville) and the very foundations of Christianity (especially Swift) - but they are so very well done. It behooves those called to defend the faith to be familiar with the most effective attacks thereon.

But that is only the mundane reason to read this poem. The real reason to read it - or anything by Swift - is that it will make you a better writer and story teller. Swift is king of the surprise - that sort of surprise that leaves you mouth agape and at a loss for words. Would that more of our sermons could pull that off!



With a Whirl of Thought opress'd,
I sink from Reverie to Rest.
An horrid Vision seiz'd my Head.
I saw the Graves give up their Dead.
Jove, arm'd with Terrors, burst the Skies,
And Thunder roars, and Light'ning flies!
Amaz'd, confus'd, its Fate unknown,
The World stands trembling at his Throne.
While each pale Sinner hangs his Head,
Jove, nodding, shook the Heav'ns, and said,
"Offending Race of Human Kind,
By Nature, Reason, Learning, blind:
You who thro' Frailty step'd aside,
And you who never fell—thro' Pride:
You who in different Sects have shamm'd,
And come to see each other damn'd:
(So some Folks told you, but they knew
No more of Jove's Designs than you)
The World's mad Business now is o'er,
And I resent these Pranks no more.
I to such Blockheads set my Wit!
I damn such Fools!—Go, go, you're bit."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Human Dignity Update (Porno-Scanners and Felon-style Gropping)

Enough already.

Awhile back I encouraged the Church to rethink her passive acceptance of the State's insistence that we give up traditional modesty and walk through machines that take naked pictures of ourselves, our wives, and our children. Things have only gotten worse since that posting. Now, those who refuse to go through the pornoscanner (which also uses ionizing radiation - the sort that poses an accumulating health risk), will be subject to an "enhanced" pat down. Which is to say, will be treated as felons getting a prison transport with breasts and crotch touched by a State functionary.

With this in mind, a reader wrote to me:

I enjoy your contributions to Gottesdienst Online, especially one discussion awhile back about airport security and being subjected to an invasion of privacy. I wonder what you might recommend, now, given the more invasive body searches / patdowns. My wife and I fly to XXXXXX next week... What's the lesser of two evils here?

My reply:

Your question is a good one. I've sworn off flying for me and my family for the foreseeable future. While I can imagine various family emergencies that would necessitate a compromise, I am perfectly willing to trade the convenience of air travel for the basic human dignity of my wife and children. So, if at all possible, cancel your tickets. Tell the airline exactly why you are doing so - this is what will have to happen, over and over, if there is going to be a change. If the American people roll over for this sort of treatment, then it will never go away. But if enough of us say No Way - well, money talks. The airlines and their lobbyists will then force the TSA to change their ways.

Serving your neighbor in this case might just mean bearing the cross of a long drive in the car or missing a holiday with your extended family. If we as ministers of the Church won't stand up to such gross invasions of human dignity by the State, who will?

Google maps says a drive from YYYYY to XXXXXX is 9 hrs 49mins. By the time you drive to the airport, get there 2 hours early, and fly - how much time are you saving? Maybe 10 hours on the round trip? Is 10 hours worth having a stranger see your wife naked or having a man put his hand in your crotch and treat you like a convicted felon getting loaded onto a prisoner transport?

That's my 2 cents. Like I said, I can imagine serious family emergencies that would necessitate me compromising (probably with just me going as I just cannot stomach the thought of putting my wife and children through any of this: I'm called to be their protector and this stuff is just plain wrong) but for me and my house, turkey day with the cousins just does not rise to such a level.

He later wrote back that this was an important trip for his family, so he would talk to his elders to see if he could get an extra day of vacation so that he could drive instead of fly. Good for him.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Poll: What you don't use in LSB

The poll this week is for folks from parishes that utilize LSB. One of the main features of LSB is its inclusiveness. For the Divine Service and the Daily Office, basically all of TLH and LW are included. But how much of this is used in your parish? Please note, you are voting for the services you DON'T use.

(I'm leaving the other services - Responsive Prayer, Litany, etc. - to the side for now and just considering the Divine Service and Daily Office orders.)

For example, in the parishes I serve we use only one setting of the Divine Service (LSB's fine setting of the Common Service, DS III), Matins, Evening Prayer, and Compline. Matins is used for school chapel and Evening Prayer and Compline are used for the Advent and Lent prayer services.

I'm curious to see whether or not there are any services that are pocket vetoed by the vast majority of LSB users (I suspect that there are). I also doubt that many parishes utilize all ten services - so if you are going to prove me wrong on that score, please tell us how all that works in the comments!


More distressing news from Finland

Pray for the Church in Finland - traditional, biblical Lutheranism and her ministers continue to be attacked by the unbelieving State and wolves in sheep's clothing.

We have been in contact with some of the brethren in Finland and they do indeed have a legal defense fund for all the pastors who have been dragged through the Finnish courts over such matters. They have gone through more than 20,000 Euros! We're working on finding a way that we in the United States can contribute. Updates to follow, Dv.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Poem: Leviticus

I'm trying to get together an Advent poetry series like the one we did for Holy Week. While looking for those, I came across this one.


Take care ye people of what you eat
Of fowl animals which bring defeat
The carcasses of an unclean soul
Shall rain diseases Leviticus has told,

Eat only the food that brings long life
The herbs and vegetables prevent strife
Avoid those shallow creeping things
Like vultures, owls, and those birds with wings,

Remember Nadab and Abihu
The sons of Aaron and what they miscue
Moderation is a key to being blessed
Never consume too much in excess.

by Willworth Wellington

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Set Loose

The frost is on the pumpkin
And the hay is in the shed
And speaking of the barn, dear friends,
Your Gottesdienst has fled!

The latest issue is out of the barn:

And, speaking of Fr. Curtis's reference to the ALPB's mockery of the latest nonsense from the CTCR (see below), we've done a little lampoon of our own in this latest issue. And much more. Subscribe today, if you haven't already. I mean, come on.

Now why didn't we think of that?

ALBP did what Gottesdienst should have done: a poetry contest on the CTCR's recent tome on the environment. Enjoy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Poll

For our North American readers - how does your parish observe the day of national thanksgiving?

I floated canceling Thanksgiving Day service since we always have a Wednesday night Divine Service. I thought that surely the people would rather spend Thanksgiving morning getting the turkey fixed up. But no: turns out a lot of people really enjoy having service that day.

As I mentioned in a previous post we often use the propers for a Harvest Festival (as I'm planning this year) and have also used the Votive for Thursdays from Daily Divine Service Book which focuses on the Institution of the true Eucharist. The latter makes for a sermon that writes itself: the juxtaposition of Caesar's amorphous thanksgiving proclamation and the transient meal that results and the true Thanksgiving of the Eucharist with a feast of eternal consequence.


Friday, November 5, 2010

The Place of Ceremony

A commenter was a bit puzzled at the ceremony performed at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, at the retirement of the seminary's debt.

I actually like this. My parishioners often invite me to special and important events in their life - not just the "churchy" ones, but also the mundane. They want me there at birthday and retirement parties and ask for a prayer and a "few words." I think this is good: they are responding to the Christian desire to sanctify "all things with the Word of God and prayer."

I've said prayers at the burial of a dog - I'd be happy to grab my surplice and pastoral companion when the mortgage is paid off.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Calendar Suggestions for November and December

November and December often pose interesting questions about the calendar and which Divine Service to have when.

First at the beginning of November, there is the close juxtaposition of Reformation and All Saints. For most Double of the First Class (newer term: First Class) festivals, we celebrate on the day of the feast and avoid transferring to a Sunday. However, All Saints is one where I have acquiesced to the Sunday transference. Much of this decision is based on very parochial issues: we host a big dinner on the last Sunday in October and the whole parish is pretty tired after that. A weekday evening Mass for All Saints would simply not be well attended. So, like many others, this Sunday will be All Saints for us.

Then, toward the middle or end of the month, you will have to decide how to do the end of the Church Year. Father Eckardt, a true Anglophile at heart, advises the Michaelmas skip in the Gottesdienst calendar. I've never really liked this - but I can never stay for the Tuesday of Oktoberfest to argue against it!

In the parishes I serve, we follow the custom of using Trinity XXV-XXVII every year as the Third Last, Second Last, and Last Sundays of the Church Year. I prefer this custom as it restores the Advent theme of the second coming to a full six weeks - an old northern European custom often called Saint Martin's Lent. This year, due to the lateness of our All Saint's celebration, we will actually only have a Second Last and Last Sunday.

Others, like my neighbor Fr. Weedon, will be observing the LSB 1-year lectionary to the letter of the law: Trinity XXVII is the Last Sunday of the Church Year, but there is no Third nor Second Last.

The confirmation class at St. Paul's - Kewanee decorates the altar for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving presents a conundrum for those who observe a Mass that day: the appointed readings in LSB call for Luke 17:11-19 as the Gospel. However, you have just preached on that text in the summer (even the Separated Brethren of the Three Year Lectionary did so this summer). Now, every text has more to mine - but all the same, it would be nice to preach on a new Gospel. Furthermore, this selection by the lectionary committee (which goes back at least to TLH) for a day of thanksgiving has always struck me as a little odd: the Gospel is about faith, belief in the Son of God in the flesh, not about thanksgiving. Indeed, the man comes back to "give praise to God" not thanks. I'm sure the other nine were thankful, they just didn't believe...

At any rate, why not use the propers for a Harvest Festival? This is much more expressive of the day, I think, and will afford the pastor a new text to preach on.

Finally, there is perennial confusion among Lutherans about what do with the Sunday after Christmas when it falls on the 26th, 27th, and 28th: does one observe the First Sunday after Christmas or the saint day (St. Stephen, St. John, Holy Innocents)?

The precedence of one feast over another is one of those things that each jurisdiction does its own way. Several times throughout history the primate of a given jurisdiction has had to come in and clean up the calendar - there having been so many privileged observances that hardly any Sunday in Trinitytide ever got celebrated, for example.

LSB suggests which feasts should take precedence over Sunday observances on p. xi by giving in bold "principal feasts of Christ [that] are normally observed when they occur on a Sunday." The other feasts "may be observed according to local custom and preference."

Given the first rubric, it would appear that LSB means to cut back privileged feasts to only the feasts of Christ - no mere saint's day will take precedence over a Sunday. That is very restrictive when compared to historic calendars, but at least it offers a clear definition of precedence. However, that definition is violated as the Nativity of John the Baptist, St. Michael and All Angels, and All Saints are privileged as "principal feasts of Christ." This is just odd - or, rather, arbitrary. If the Nativity of John is a "feast of Christ" then why isn't St. Mary's day or the Conversion of St. Paul?

I would recommend observing the feasts included in LSB based on the class each feast has traditionally had in the Western Church. This is what we did for Daily Divine Service Book - which I hope will be out in time for Christmas...or Epiphany, maybe.

All that was just an introduction to say this: the First Sunday after Christmas is a Double of the Second Class while St. Stephen, St. John, and Holy Innocents are all Doubles of the First Class. Therefore, this year St. Stephen's day is appropriately celebrated on Sunday, December 26th.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Latest from CSL

I just got CSL's public relations magazine in the mail today. Between the covers is pretty typical university alumni magazine fare. The covers are what caught my attention.

* Front cover includes a picture of what I lovingly call the Great Grey-Green Greasy Limpopo Eyesore affixed to the front of Sts Timothy and Titus. If you ever get a chance to see it in the flesh, you will no doubt be blown away by the depth of theological reflection written thereon (in black magic marker) by some of tomorrow's pastors. Does anything say "undergrad" quite like artwork that doesn't match its surroundings that is meant to be written upon by passers-by?

* Back cover quotation:"thinking about pastoral or diaconal ministry?" And the shift away from catholic speech is complete! Women are now diaconal ministers. Oh boy, er, oh girl.

UPDATE: A reader informs us that now Pres. Harrison has been using terms like "diaconal ministry" and "diaconal ministers" in reference to deaconesses for some time at the WRHC website. Our reader did not send along any links - but if true, we hope that Fr. Harrison will rethink this terminology as it causes more confusion than clarity in confessing the faith as Fr. Beane notes in the comments.