Sunday, September 28, 2014

Who Cut the Cheese?

By Larry Beane

This is a video released by Pastor Mark Junkans (LCMS) who serves a call at Lutheran Inter-City Coalition in Houston, Texas (Texas District).

Pr. Junkans uses the word "communion" - but it sounds more like a house party to me.  Although I would prefer meat hors d'oeuvres or cocktail weenies, since I don't eat bread (Holy Communion excepted) - I would never attempt to bind consciences regarding the proper finger foods to go with Lutheran beverages.  To each his own!  Though (and I realize I am on shaky 8th Commandment and Matthew 18 ground here), I do think some research is in order to determine the propriety of omitting cheese in such contexts.  Is this an adiaphoron?  That question is certainly above my pay grade.

Passing around a bottle sounds like a great time (not that Lutheran pastors know anything about that...) - and is certainly of the order of First Article gifts.  But I don't know if Pr. Junkans is trying to say this communion is a simply bunch of parishioners quaffing at a cocktail party, or rather if this is supposed to be the Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Holy Eucharist, the Mass, the body and blood of Christ?

At any rate, what about the cheese?  Can we at least have consensus on that?

Maybe Pr. Junkans will clarify the matter.  Maybe the Texas District President could help.  I would be interested to know what President Harrison thinks, not to mention President Rast, as Pr. Junkans is a graduate of Fort Wayne's DELTO program.  Reverend Presidents, we need direction on this caseous casuistry matter!  Silence is not an option!

I am not being critical of Pr. Junkans.  I know the rules of the synod.  I'm not an ecclesiastical supervisor.  Nor am I going to invest the time and money to try to meet my brother face to face to confront him about omitting cheese at an otherwise perfectly good cocktail party - as scandalous a matter as that might be - especially to our brethren in Wisconsin.  Love covers a multitude of Sbrinz.

But I would like to know what those charged with ecclesiastical supervision do have to say about this.  I mean, if we can't agree on something so basic, what does it mean to walk together?


  1. "Everybody gets a glass of wine.... Good bottle of wine.... Good bread."

    Not that crap all y'all get at the Communion rail from the altar of the Lord in one of those messy, germ-laden common cups.

    A red-faced DELTOid pastor in Utah.

    Lord, have mercy!

  2. In the middle of the 6th century, Procopius described the "circus factions" as distinctively flaunting, in public, "the Hunnic look." The "circus factions" were competing corporations of the Empire that were originally charged with securing the horses, chariots, and charioteers for the games. By Mr. P's time, however, there were many fans of the corporations who were not formally employees of the corporations, but who made it their obsession to attend the featured mayhem and lustily cheer on the racers. Two circus factions of particular historical note were the Blues and the Greens, rascals who figured prominently in the chaotic Nika Revolt of 532 A+D. According to historian Timothy E. Gregory ("Vox Populi: Violence and Popular Involvement in the Religious Controversies of the Fifth Century A.D.", the Ohio State University Press, 1979), the cheers, applause and carousing of the bizarre factions were carefully premeditated and orchestrated, to achieve a great and steam-rolling emotional effect. And to stir violence, depending on circumstances

    Fr. Beane's "brethren in Wisconsin" may be a reference to simple and painted pig-skin worshipers of a dairy state, but it is may be a sly reference to a certain synod that has officially endorsed a business model "pulse survey," to encourage the laity to rise up and make proposals for the "missional purpose" of its congregation ... the results of such poll being revealed, caressed and quarter-backed by an "Institute of Worship and Outreach" counselor .... this coming week-end, no less. My understanding, from secondary sources, is that some of the proposals may include a cutting back on the frequency of Mass, from every Sunday to maybe half as much, as a means of enhancing out-reach and to better capture the dissidents who departed for Greener pastures (or maybe Bluer, given my psychiatrist's biases as to the real joys obtained by Sacramental Fare) ... departed, because of the successful effort to make the congregation Lutheran (as our Confessions define), years ago. The success permitted poor sinners to truly see, with the eyes of Simeon, our salvation; as did the ancient Church itself on a weekly basis, according to St. Luke in the "Acts of the Apostles." The vox populi can never, ever cover-up or destroy that meaningful truth.

    I am sure there will be other howlers, from the clapping and cheering audience that has chosen to gather away from the environs of the sanctuary of God. A community culture center is a close substitute for the Circus Maximus, now that I think about it.

    Were St. Paul still stomping around Asia Minor, in that cloak/chasuble he left behind with Carpus in Troas, I would be frantically begging him to "come over and help us", a small faithful remnant attempting to stand firm; instead, I merely ask for the supportive prayers of the Gottesdienst crowd.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor, SSP

  3. What the Doktor said, as usual.
    I'm kind of astounded that Mark Junkans made no mention to the other entertainment that no doubt surrounds this risky business - the bearded folk singer, and the long-haired beauty with whom the aforementioned bearded-one can sing lightly-spiritual but intimate duets - with a healthy smattering of sexual tension, of course. The ubiquitous Millennial hippie on the djembe. And of course the hordes of baby-boomers grimly determined to at least pass as hip (the requisite screen tees and acid washed jeans unfurl as we speak).
    We are in an age where pleasure equal meaning - so the sexual escapades of a plastic Armenian-American family make headline news, "transitioning" (read: cutting, pulling, and mutilating) of the sexes is a national obsession, and the Holy Eucharist becomes a glitzed-up hors d’œuvre. Some people say we live in a democracy, others a republic. Still others say we live in a dictatorship, a wannabe Socialist paradise, or a nanny-state. Carnal pleasure is the name of the game these days, and so all of those descriptions of our Hallowed Country are wrong.

    We live in a pornocracy.
    Might I add, while we're talking about separating the sheep from the goats, that there is nothing - nothing! - like a good, runny and really goaty goat-cheese. I had one such cheese from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor not too long ago. That was as close to a sacramental movement as I have ever experienced.


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